Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Just a quick update on happenings. Please follow this link Memorial Day & Oklahoma to see a 2-minute video on Oklahoma soldiers who gave their all and are buried in overseas graves. Michael Beach has traveled the world on a mission to give a little bit of Oklahoma back to every Oklahoma soldier who is buried in overseas cemeteries. Michael places an Oklahoma rose rock on every Oklahoma headstone as a tribute to their sacrifice. Michael visited Bridge Creek last year to speak with our Service-Learning Youth Action Council about his project, and in return they shared their Veteran's History Project with him. They were also able to connect him with family members of the Lantow brothers highlighted in his video.
Michael had previously visited Normandy, France, and had placed rose rocks on the Lantow brothers' headstones. Robert and Norman Lantow were killed 6 months apart in 1944 and are buried side-by-side. Before we met Michael, we had begun our own investigation into the Oklahoma soldiers buried in Normandy. Students were given the challenge of trying to find surviving relatives of these soldiers in hopes we could mail them pictures of their loved one's headstone that Mrs. Skeen and I had photographed while we were in Normandy. One group of students located the Lantow's surviving brothers in Claremore, OK. We were able to connect with the brothers and interview them from two perspectives. Both brothers are veterans too - one from WWII, the other a Korean War veteran. But they were also able to tell us about their brothers, Robert and Norman. We learned what they were like as children, as young adults, as soldiers, as brothers still sorely missed. Incredible journey for all involved!
So thanks to Michael for remembering all these fallen heroes who lay far from home but are not forgotten.
On another note: Stay tuned in the blog this week. Our 6th grade Youth Action Council students, parents, teachers, and 3 Vietnam vets are traveling to Washington DC tomorrow for a week of discovering and documenting our journey. We have a scheduled stop at the Library of Congress and the Veteran's History Project offices to hand-deliver this year's veteran interviews. The students completed 12 interviews this year, so great job to them!

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