The Greatest Generation

Today six classes from Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, and Virginia interviewed local World War II veterans in our Lest We Forget ASK program.

It was a wonderful experience. We started each session with introductions from each of the veterans participating in that session. Then Betty Bennett, who was part of the code-breakers, shared her experience and gave the students a code to work on. At the end we revealed the answer. Only one of the schools actually broke the code!
For most of the session we rotated through the participating schools taking two questions from each site. Between the two questions the veterans sharedpictures they had brought in such as the one shown.
Here is a sampling of the questions:

  • Were you ever afraid?
  • How did you feel about fighting in the war?
  • If you were given a chance, would you serve again?
  • What did you miss most overseas and why?
  • What was life like when you returned?
  • What feeling did you have knowing that you made it out just before the attack in Pearl Harbor?
  • We know that being in the war was tough place to be, but did you have any fond memories?
  • Did you ever feel that you were also fighting the war for a moral reason besides fighting for our country?
  • What was your mind on while you were fighting?
  • What was the scariest thing that happened when you were in the war?
  • How were you treated in the countries in which you were fighting?
  • Did any of you ever save the life of another soldier?

In the first session, the 112 students from Methacton High School gave our veterans a standing ovation. My eyes misted in that proud moment. As I told our veterans, they are an incredibly valuable primary source for students learning about our wars and understanding the contributions of our fathers and grandfathers to our freedom.

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