"I teach 7th and 8th grade social studies. I want the kids to understand
that we all have a price to pay for freedom. When we take them out to the
Memorial, I want them to see that a lot of people gave up their home life,
their significant others, their friends, their neighbors. The thing that
touches them the most is seeing a veteran who was killed over there from
their district and it brings it to life for them. 'That person could have
had my locker.' And then it touches them in a way that nothing else really
can. I think that was the most important part of it for them that it really
hit home. They were real people. When they see the town, and the high school,
and they look through the yearbook they see that then it's huge, and it
brings out a sensitivity in them.
Through the years, some of the students have really not wanted to go on the field trip, but then when they listen to Barry talk and veterans that visited there talking about their experience, they just don't want to leave, they want to know more about it. They get really involved in the project, they want to know more. Just reading from a book, or watching a film, for kids especially this age, is not going to have the same impact. They need to be there, they need to experience it, they need to see it, they need to talk with people who were in Vietnam. They need to see the hometown connection and realize that war is not something that is far away; it's right here and it affects a lot of people."