Living history: Home-schoolers connect with WWII veterans

Commentary by Joy Lynne Chavis
Special to the Times-News

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Alamance County home-schoolers pose with World War II veterans on Oct. 24. [Photo submitted

   Alamance County home-schoolers are     currently taking an active role in a World War   II  history class.
Teacher Anna Liese Call is helping make   history come alive through the eyes of veterans   who experienced this war firsthand.
In the Link Up Veteran Project, each student   met with an assigned World War II veteran     and  wrote a paper from the interview   experience. After writing the paper, we   designed a poster presentation to complement   the paper and highlighted each veteran’s   experience in the war.
Students are gaining valuable knowledge by   reading historical accounts of events, timelines, maps and quotes from U.S. presidents and foreign dictators. All our work is organized into a history notebook called “Time Travelers — America in World War II.” Through this class, we are learning about the three Allied countries — Great Britain, America and France, and the Axis countries, our foes at the time — Germany, Japan and Italy.
Adolf Hitler was the dictator in Germany, along with Hideki Tojo of Japan and Benito Mussolini of Italy. These men were “trying” to take over the world. Imagine what it must have been like to be part of this Great War.
We are also learning quotes from World War II like the one from President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy … the USA was suddenly and deliberately attacked by … the Empire of Japan.” We are reading many interesting passages about the attack at Pearl Harbor and even things that happened in Germany, like Jews having to wear the “Jude patch,” identifying them as Jews. We are also studying European geography during the war and how Germany was taking over that part of the world.
The opportunities for families and students to meet with veterans in their homes for the interviews, and at the Wings of Freedom Tour at the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport on Oct. 24, have been especially enlightening.
We have met with men who actually fought on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan in 1945, one of the war’s bloodiest battles. Some of the men and women helped build and pilot huge bomber planes like the Mustang P-51 and B-24 Liberator. These are the moments we will remember and tell our children about one day.
We are appreciative of their sacrifice to our country when they were so young. All the veterans say they feel special and happy to receive such thanks and acknowledgment.
Meeting these men and women with such rich historical stories and memories has made our class more patriotic, humble and excited about studying history and the people that fought for our continued freedom.

Joy Lynne Chavis is a home-schooled sixth-grader.

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