Veterans stories make history more alive to students

Posted On: Sunday, 27 August 2017
Veterans in Community Schools

“All too often, we page-turn through a textbook or other source, and, while we can get a lot out of those sources, the minute we turn to the next chapter, the previous one seems to fade away. Having real people in the classroom telling their story really seemed like the most logical way to snap out of that mentality and make history more alive.”

— Sairah Ahmed, High School History Teacher, Cedar Springs, Mich.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Chuck Smith and U.S. Army veteran Tom Hoskins shared stories about their time in service to juniors at their alma mater, Cedar Springs High School in Michigan, captured in a article.

Smith talked about the loss of a former classmate who was drafted and killed in

Vietnam. “Trying to put things into perspective for you, he graduated in ’67, and was killed in ’67. You guys are juniors and seniors … 16, 17, 18 years old.

He wasn’t much older,” Smith said.

“In a battle like that, if you take someone’s life, you leave a little bit of your soul behind on the ground,” said Smith, who celebrated his 20th birthday in the field.

The veterans’ stories offered an opportunity of learning beyond textbooks for many of Ahmed’s students, who heard the heart and purpose of why we study history.

Veterans in Community Schools — an American Legion Family program embraced by members of the American Legion Auxiliary— brings history to life as local veterans tell students about their experiences in the military.

ALA Mission

In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.