Tag Archives: Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget: Vietnam

Today we have a group of Vietnam veterans talking to students across the country about their experiences. We have several classes from MI participating, as well as classes from NY, PA and NE.

These are the panels that participated today:

9:30 Session Panel: SGT Jess Bowman, CDR Don Oderkirk, Major Weldon Burden, L/CPL Denton Kime

10:45 Session Panel: SGT Jess Bownman, CDR Don Oderkirk, COL Alsbro, L/CPL Denton Kime

12:30 Session Panel: SGT Jess Bowman, Major Weldon Burden, COL Alsbro, L/CPL Denton Kime

Here are some of the questions that students asked today:

  • Did you think the draft process was fair?
  • Describe your feelings/thoughts on foreign policy related to the domino effect?
  • What did you think of the Vietnamization process?
  • How much did you know about the war before you were drafted?
  • Do you think the media misrepresent the war?
  • Has your sacrifice been appreciated by society as much as you think it should?
  • Do you think there should be a draft today?
  • Are you able to watch movies about the war? and which ones do you recommend?
  • Do you think the comparisons between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Vietnam are justified?
  • What should we be doing differently to support the troops when they come home from our current wars?
  • If you could pass on one thing to the next generation of Americans, what would it be?

Students from Syracuse, NY, prepared great thank you posters to share with the veterans at the end of the conference. The veterans sure appreciate these expressions!

These are great videoconferences – a benefit to the veterans, who appreciate the opportunity to tell their story as well as the expressions of thanks from the students. And hearing first hand experiences of historical events always helps students understand the topic better. These are videoconferences you could easily do in your area as well! I’m sure there are veterans nearby who would love to have the opportunity to talk to students.

Lest We Forget: Korean War

Today we had another Lest We Forget session with our Korean War veterans. We had high school classes from Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas participating.

Our panel members today were (l to r) Jim O’Malley, Redmond Sage, Al Rosinski, and Bill Gobert. Here is a sample of the questions students asked:

  • How much sleep did you get?
  • Do you think we should still have the draft?
  • Did you have any fond memories while you were overseas?
  • What did people do to support the Korean War at home?
  • I studied about Taskforce Smith. Why did we go into the war when we weren’t ready?
  • Were you drafted or did you volunteer?
  • What did you think of Truman firing MacArthur?
  • How did the local Korean population treat you?
  • Who decided to divide Korea?
  • What books or movies do you recommend to learn about the Korean War?
  • What did you miss most when you were overseas?

Mr. Bill Gobert brought his sleeping bag to illustrate the cold conditions. In this picture you can see how he modeled this experience for the students.

The veterans always appreciate patriotic decoration for these videoconferences, which this ROTC group did very well:

As always, these videoconferences are a great opportunity for students to hear first hand experiences from historical events. In addition, the veterans sure appreciate the opportunity to tell their stories and know that the younger generation is interested in their perspective.

We still have room in the May 14 Vietnam sessions, and we’d love to have YOUR class join us!

World War II Veterans Picture

On Wednesday, March 31, we had a videoconference with our World War II veterans. I didn’t get to blog it then because I was having problems with two other VCs at the same time as I was facilitating this one. But I just got the photographers pictures in my email this morning, and this picture is so good I have to share it!

The veterans from left to right are: Captain Jimmy Butt, Sgt Arden Pridgeon, Sgt Val Ripsco, and Captain Frank Smith.

In this picture, Captain Smith was just explaining to the students the difference between American weapons and the enemy’s weapons (in his case, Germany). He was mimicking the sound of each, so loudly, that it made Sgt Ripsco jump! And then everyone laughed. It was a great session!

By the way, we still have room in the April Korean War Veteran interview, and the Vietnam War interviews in May. ($50 each; high school; everyone is welcome). Hope you can join us!!

Remembering Pearl Harbor

It’s December 7, and we’re remembering Pearl Harbor by having three sessions interviewing panels of our local World War II veterans. Here are some of the questions the students asked:

  • What was your inspiration or motivation during the war?
  • Which front do you think was the most difficult?
  • Do you think it made a difference in your experience if you were drafted or volunteered?
  • Do you think the U.S. did anything to provoke the Pearl Harbor attack?
  • What did you miss besides family? (Coke & milk)
  • What do you think was your greatest accomplishment during the war?
  • How many pounds of equipment did you carry and what all was part of your gear?
  • How did Hitler’s decision to invade Poland affect your life?
  • Have you ever been back to Europe and what were your impressions when you went back?
  • How did the war affect you & your family economically?
  • Did 9/11 affect you the same way Pearl Harbor did?

We had three panels participate today:

9:30 session

Arden Pridgeon, Army; Frank Smith, Army; Don Sprung, Army; Frank Cupp, Air Corp.

10:45 sessions

Ray Sreboth, Army; Jimmy Butt, Army; Rich Ziebart, Air Corp.; Bob Ziebart, Army

12:30 – 1:30 pm

Rich Ziebart, Air Corp.; Bob Ziebart, Army; Val Ripsco, Women’s Army Corp

What a great set of panels and students asking questions! Another excellent day of learning!

WWII Veteran Reflects on Lest We Forget VC

Last week I wrote about our videoconferences celebrating veterans day. One of our World War II veterans, Ray Sreboth, wrote a little reflection on the experience. I obtained permission to share it here with you:

This morning, I was once more was involved in one of those two way interactive TV, living history sessions at the Berrien Regional Educational Service Center where I had served as Superintendent for some 14 years. Unlike previous gigs, we had one or two Vets on a panel, each, from WWII, Korea and Nam. Of course, that made me the senior member of the group. We interacted with kids in Texas, mostly from the Dallas School District and they were terrific! Grade levels varied from 4th grade, middle school to senior high school. There were a lots of Jr. ROTC members, boy and girls, Army and Marine Corps units.  They were the best prepared of all of the classes I seen in the three or four years.  The Lest We Forget Org has been participating in the program and I salute the students and their teachers: all of them did their homework. The pupils asked good questions, very clearly, were attentive and were taking notes. The ROTC Cadets stood at attention when asking a question and remained standing till the answers we forthcoming; they thanked us and took a seat. Each grade seemed to have distinctive and uniform clothing, i.e.; one group had red shirts, another blue etc.

Though I wasn’t feeling very well, I made an effort to show up and I told the Director, given the opportunity, I wanted to made two points. If nothing else this day: (1) That as these youngsters grow up they will run into Holocaust Deniers, perhaps even their college professors will be in that group and I wanted them to know I saw the prisoners who had been freed /released from Buchenwald — at least those who were alive — and I told the kids they should not believe who say those crimes against humanity never took place and that  I would never forget the sight of those living skeletons wearing what appeared to be pajamas made from flour sacks. And (2) that those entering college ROTC should understand, as should their parents, that the were not going to get a “free college education” in such a program, at they were not signing up for the Boy Scouts or Camp Fire Girls and that, when commissioned, they would probably be required to serve in the military and that they just might be put into harm’s way as a result of such service. I suggested that their parents should be fully aware of such circumstances as well.

I concluded my remarks at one session by mentioning how in my school days we observed Armistice Day, which marked the end of WWI and that it was a big deal in my day and I recited the poem In Flanders Fields, which we learned in about the 5th grade in the CPS. I did not tell them how at 11 AM on Nov. 11, we stood, in silence and Faced east for the boys who went west.

What a powerful experience for students, veterans, and videoconference coordinators!!

Lest We Forget: Veterans Day

To celebrate Veterans Day today, we have 4 sessions with panels of our World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Students from MI and TX are interviewing our local veterans. Here are some of the questions students asked today:

  • Where did you sleep when you were in active duty?
  • Have you ever been back to where you fought?
  • What was the worst thing you ever ate?
  • How were you treated when you came home from the war?
  • What advice would you give a student who is being encouraged to go into the service?
  • Do you feel it was necessary to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima?
  • Was it hard to run with all the supplies on your back?
  • Who inspired you to serve our country?
  • Tell us about the medals on your uniform.
  • Would you really give your life for our country?
  • How would you compare the war you fought with the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Lowe Elementary students taking notesThis is the first group that I have noticed actually used the new note taking sheet I created. It has four squares for locations (to look up on the map later), historical facts, stories, and service/patriotism. It was great to see the students taking notes!

09-11-11uniformsOne of the classes was a Jr. ROTC group, and our veterans really enjoyed seeing the uniforms!

Throughout the day, we had several different veterans participate:

9:30 EST / 8:30 CST
left-to-right: Ray Sreboth, WW II; Lynn Rayle, Vietnam; Jess Bowman, Vietnam
left-to-right: Ray Sreboth, WW II; Lynn Rayle, Vietnam; Jess Bowman, Vietnam

10:45 EST / 9:45 CST
left-to-right: Ray Sreboth, WW II; Don Sprung, WW II; Al Rosinski, Korea; Jess Bowman, Vietnam

12:30 EST / 11:30 CST and 1:45 EST / 12:45 CST
left-to-right: Arden Pridgeon, WW II; Al Rosinski, Korea; Edwin Heiden, Vietnam; Weldon Burden, Vietnam

We have additional interviews coming up, including December 7 with World War II. We’d love to have you join us!