World War II is woven into my family story. My maternal grandparents met in the China-Burma-India Theater; she was a young nurse, and he was an engineer. My paternal grandfather, a German citizen who immigrated to the US when he was six years old, took the U.S. Army oath in 1941. He was stationed in Hawaii and Casablanca as he served in the Army Corps of Engineers as a cartographer.
The threads of their lives—their sacrifice, determination, and bravery—are the legacy that has been instilled in me, and I know that I need to continue sharing their stories. I always find great encouragement remembering their sacrifice, work, and determination. This has translated into my teaching, changing how I approach my students and what I teach. Students need to connect with the stories they read. It is my goal to draw out their own individual stories and help them realize that they are not alone and that others have felt and experienced the same emotions, feelings, and desires.
Through the combination of literature in historical context and thoughtful discussion with real-world connections, students begin to see themselves reflected in others' stories as I have. One of the most appealing aspects of Understanding Sacrifice is the fact that this program gives me the opportunity to work with other educators, making connections between the past and the present, and modeling the learning process for my students. Walking in the footsteps of my family will be personally fulfilling, but more importantly, sharing these stories with future generations will ensure that these stories will never be lost.