Early Friday morning May 4th, I arrived at the school before 7 a.m., along with many other Viet Nam Veterans carrying, rolling and driving all sorts of military memorabilia, books, pictures and even a few vehicles.
We were directed to the lobby area around the auditorium, and each of us were assigned to a numbered table, to set up, lay out or hang up all the things that we brought to show to all the students who would attend.
This, the History Alive Program created by Mr. Brad Durnell, has been organized for the last three years by Durnell, a teacher of social studies for five years. He is also a soccer coach, and has traveled all over the world on various educational programs. Durnell designed this project to allow the students (over three hundred of them) to interview, and interact with veterans from World War Two, Korea, Viet Nam, and the Middle East Wars, on four seperate days. He also encourages the students to ask questions not only about the military, and the different war experiences, but to ask "what was life like back then" during the four time periods.
Personally, I really enjoyed participating in this project, and am already planning to sign up again next year.
It was organized so that each class period, a large number of students arrived, and were given a table number in two's or three's, and every fifteen or twenty minutes, they were all rotated to the next table. I can't even estimate how many young people I talked to during the day, but it was a lot! Several of the groups posed for a picture with me to be posted with this article. One was Danielle, and Emily, and one was Samantha, and Caroline. All four young ladies were very nice, polite, and attractive! The third person in each was me. (This may post with a picture of a young sailor with glasses. That would be me too. What a difference 50 plus years make!)
Talking with all the students was enjoyable to me. There were quite a variety of questions, that I answered the best that I could. I also had a number of books with pictures of several cruises I was on (Navy aircraft carriers) one to the Mediterranean area, and one to the Viet Nam area. On the way to, and from both we visited a number of ports, with lots to see. I also described life on a Navy ship, and how aircraft were launched, and landed on a carrier at sea. I also got to tell a few "sea stories" like in the blog I am writing in the Patch.
The most poular item I brought with me was my high school yearbook from when I graduated in 1961. The most interest was in the group pictures, that showed what the students were wearing waaay back then! I was kind of a nerd (although that wasn't a word then) and was in the Radio Club (electronics stuff) so some of my outfits were decidedly un-cool. Actually, all the clothes back then were a lot different than school clothes today.
I had a great time participating in the project, and I hope the students enjoyed it too!