My interest in World War II stems from stories I heard as a child about my Grandpa who served as a medic in the Philippines, and I have always dreamed of visiting this theater of war in his footsteps.
This interest has driven me to interview veterans from World War II throughout my adult life. It is an honor to record these stories and share them with my students in my world and U.S. history courses. These recordings provide my students with a tangible connection to the war and open up a plethora of excellent questions, research topics and classroom discussion.
An African American soldier's emotional account of racism at the hands of white soldiers during the Italian campaign, for example, emphasizes the struggles minorities faced within their own ranks. His anger and choice of words provides unmatched depth and insight compared to the textbook.
I also continue to marvel at how World War II remains at the epicenter of twentieth century and current events. The war has impacted nearly every country in every region, and I feel its study is imperative for students to understand the world in which they live.