Lakeville Area students in our summer Launch into Learning program visited the Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and Hall of Heroes and Exhibits during a short stay at Lakeville Hasse Arena between July 8 and July 13. The memorial wall is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which honors and names the more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives while serving in the Vietnam War.
Elementary and middle school students were able to walk along the wall and read the names of the men and women who served our country. At the nearby Hall of Heroes and Exhibits, students were able to get close to military trucks, climb into the pilot seat of a helicopter, and speak with military reenactors.
This visit to the Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall taught students about American history and how it connects to them. Before visiting the memorial, some students discussed personal family accounts of the Vietnam War and the lives it has touched in our community.
“Students made connections to the wall because they may have had family members who served,” said Theresa Mergens, who brought her elementary school Launch into Learning students to the memorial on Monday, July 8. “Students prior to visiting, read a book about the wall and how family members did a rubbing. When we visited the wall, students saw other people in the community doing the same thing,” explained Mergens.
“Students often feel like the effects of war are far away and removed from their lives,” said Launch into Learning teacher, Stacy Treu. She brought her middle school students out on Thursday, July 11. “This visit not only provides the opportunity to discuss our nation’s history, but we are hoping to witness people in our community honoring and feeling the presence of the memorial.”
Mergens said this was potentially a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for some students, because not everyone may get to experience the actual Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“Having the memorial here is good because it makes history personal,” explained Treu. “Hopefully students develop a curiosity and start to form social opinions and awareness that leads to positive, active citizenship.”
The Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall was hosted by Lakeville’s American Legion Post 44 and VFW Post 210, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.