Learning about WWII from Someone with a First-Hand Perspective
As Robert was doing a puzzle with a few of the residents in the assisted living home, he was moved by a question that Mr. John asked. John is a ninety-seven-year old World War II veteran. He served in Germany and he wanted to know if they still taught students about World War II in high school. John was very concerned that students were not learning about a war where he sacrificed so much. The teen assured him that we spent much of last year on this part of history and encouraged him to share his story. It was hard for John to start his story, but once he began, he had a lot to share. He was about our age when he was sent to fight, defend our freedom, and kill the “enemy” overseas. The group of teenagers that had gathered to hear his story learned more than could be learned in any history textbook. Mr. John explained the harsh realities of the world war. It was evident to the teens the impact John still feels from his service eighty years later and why he did not want his story and sacrifice and those of his fellow veterans forgotten. John also told the group that he was happy to be able to share his story with a group of young minds who cared.
History has a way of repeating itself, and talking to someone from a different generation opens up a pathway of knowledge. Sometimes, when a person dies, important stories and lessons pass away with them because there is no one to pass the stories on to. With more interactions between the youth and the seniors, less history and stories would be lost because there would be more people to share the history with.