When I first heard about this opportunity, I quickly realized I knew very little about the experiences of servicemen and women during World War II.
As I reflected about this gap in my own understanding, and by extension my students, a certain irony emerged. I am surrounded by World War II history. Many of my students walk by Douglas MacArthur Park to get to school, but never learn about the life of the soldiers who served under the World War II general. A few blocks from my school is the Japanese American National Museum where I take my students to learn about the internment camps, but we rarely discuss the experiences of those Japanese men who fought for the United States while their loyalty was being questioned.
Learning about the sacrifices made during World War II will add further relevance to my curriculum as may of my students come from countries such as the Philippines, China, and Vietnam that were deeply impacted by the War in the Pacific. The greatest reward of teaching history and participation in this program is that I am able to prepare my students with a more authentic view of history, while also instilling in them the skills necessary for their own academic, personal, and professional success.