FIFTH GRADE ESSAY CONTEST WINNER:
Alijah Vanterpool, 5th Grade, S.E.Schull School, Perth Amboy, NJ
Vroom whoosh, went the fighter planes overhead that December 7, 1941 morning. “Dag nab army cowboys always flyin danger close!” Shouted a Naval Corporal stuck with MP (Military Police) duty on the military base Pearl Harbor. But something was wrong with the way those planes were flying. Suddenly someone shouted. “Look at the red meatballs on the wings, it’s the Japanese!” Bombs could be heard dropping on buildings, carriers and destroyers. The Japanese had begun their assault on Pearl Harbor. Every man on the island rushed to his anti-aircraft guns, it was pure chaos. 2,403 people died that day and 1,178 were wounded. Only 55 Japanese died.
The attack on Pearl Harbor is what brought America into World War II. If we don’t learn about our entry into World War II then what could we possibly learn about it at all? If we don’t learn about World War II then we most likely won’t learn about World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or any other war. But one of the most important reasons Pearl Harbor “needs” to be talked about in the classroom is we need to learn how to prevent war. What good comes from War? Nothing at all! People mourn the loss of Fathers, Mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and other relatives and friends. Another reason Pearl Harbor needs to be discussed in the class room is the youth of today has to acknowledge and remember the sacrifice our soldiers make. Many young men, not even twenty years of age, were killed trying to protect this country and our freedom. The struggle, the pain and the misery these men and women faced should always be in our thoughts. One additional reason that Pearl Harbor should be remembered is all the destruction caused by that attack. Beautiful courtyards and parks were turned to wastelands from all of the bombardments. Countries are still recovering from the devastating aftermath of World War II. On top of that, innocent civilians pay the ultimate price. Civilians can be killed by untouched booby-traps, trip wire grenades, and mines.
I was lucky enough to meet World War II veterans when I was in fourth grade, last year. My Vice Principal invited these brave men to the school for a Veteran’s Day lunch. I was one of four other students that had the privilege to have lunch with them. The men who visited that day were from the Menlo Park veteran’s home in Edison, New Jersey. I will never forget them or their captivating stories. Together, let’s make sure the attack on Pearl Harbor will never be forgotten by encouraging our teachers and Board Members to include the lessons each year. I’m not talking about mentioning Pearl Harbor on December 7, but really discussing the attack in detail.
Student Travel – WWII Educational Tours
High school and college students, learn the leadership principles that helped win WWII on a trip to France or during a weeklong residential program in New Orleans. College credit is available, and space is limited.
See You Next Year! HS Yearbooks from WWII
Collected from across the United States, the words and pictures of these yearbooks present a new opportunity to experience the many challenges, setbacks and triumphs of the war through the eyes of America’s youth.
The Victory Gardens of WWII
Visit the Classroom Victory Garden Project website to learn about food production during WWII, find lesson plans and activities for elementary students, get tips for starting your own garden and try out simple Victory Garden recipes!
The Science and Technology of WWII
Visit our new interactive website to learn about wartime technical and scientific advances that forever changed our world. Incorporates STEM principles to use in the classroom.
Kids Corner: Fun and Games!
Make your own propaganda posters, test your memory, solve puzzles and more! Learn about World War II and have fun at the same time.