Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Learning About History and the 70th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack

I have blogged before about my belief that it is vital that our young people learn history.  For too many students, history is dead text in a deadly boring textbook.

It doesn't have to be that way.

One of the best ways to learn history is visiting the actual site, walking it, and listening to well-educated tour guides if they are provided.  Another "one of the best ways" is to talk to people who experienced the event.  Putting the two together is golden.

When I grew up, it was common for our fathers to be World War II veterans (my Dad was one).  Today, I can barely go a day without seeing a World War II vet's obituary in the newspaper.

Too soon, the last veteran will pass on, as will the last survivor of the Holocaust.  We are running a race against time.  Too many young people will never talk to an eyewitness of World War II. 

Today is the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the event that caused the United States to enter World War II and shifted our foreign policy, perhaps forever. 

I've never been to Hawaii but a number of college students are getting that opportunity-traveling with veterans in a program that has been matching students with World War II and letting them visit battlefields together.

What a wonderful opportunity to experience history first hand.  These students will be some of the final ones who will be able to take advantage of this opportunity.  And the veterans benefit greatly too.

I know a couple of people who have been to Pearl Harbor, and visiting the memorials there have been a highlight of their lives.

Observe this anniversary well.   It will be one of the last where we can honor members of our "Greatest Generation".

1 comment:

  1. Gosh, you are *so* right about this! All of our veterans are dying and their stories are not being passed on, directly or indirectly, to today's youth. It's really a tragedy.

    I am proud to say that both of my parents were World War II veterans -- my father was in the Canadian infantry, he fought and was wounded in Europe; and my mother was in the Women's Royal Navy in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I miss hearing their stories and wish I had captured more of them on paper or tape.

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