Letter to the editor: We should learn from the French and teach our children history | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: We should learn from the French and teach our children history

Al Concordia

Recently, my wife and I toured the D-Day beaches at Normandy. Our fathers and uncles served in each branch of the service during World War II. One uncle was shot down over Austria and captured. He remained a prisoner of war until the end of the war. They all made it back, unlike those buried at Normandy. Our guide’s father was a veteran from Sword Beach. He gave us an incredible perspective of the enormity of the landing areas, intensity of battle, personal courage and sacrifice of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The cemeteries were overwhelming, filled with American, French, Canadian, British and German youths, the majority of which were 20 years of age. Ten thousand plus Americans are buried there. The headstones are a testament to a battlefield that did not discriminate. Officers were buried with privates, a diverse group of the men and women who died in battle. They came from varied backgrounds and religions.

The most striking image and memorable scene was two groups of French grade schoolers. One teacher was leaning over a map of the beaches and countryside teaching his students about D-Day. A second teacher was leading her group in song at the gravesites. It brought tears to our eyes. This was more than just a daytrip. It was an education to appreciate what occurred there and how the sacrifice of many brought them freedom and their current way of life.

Maybe we should take a page from the French playbook and teach our children critical history theory.

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