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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!!
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:
Arden Pridgeon, Army; Frank Smith, Army; Don Sprung, Army; Frank Cupp, Air Corp.
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!
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!!
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?
This 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!
One 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
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!