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Mississippi Students Honor Veterans Day with the Museum

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On Friday, November 4th, The National WWII Museum’s Red Ball Express was invited to participate in a high school Veterans’ Day program at the Family Interactive Center in Pascagoula, MS.  Organized by the Pascagoula High School JROTC, the purpose of the program was both to honor local veterans and also to allow students a chance to talk and interface with some of the actual brave men and women who fought for all of the freedoms that they today enjoy in hopes of deepening their appreciation and understanding of the true meaning of service to one’s country.  During the four hours of the program, over 300 JROTC and history students from Pascagoula High School attended, which all considered a great success.

For its part in the program, the Red Ball Express brought along one of its newest and coolest acquisitions:  a 6 foot by 6 foot inflatable Earth ball displaying realistic topography, scale and latitude and longitude!  The huge inflatable globe is part one of the Red Ball Express’ newest school outreach programs in which students are challenged to pinpoint locations from around the world in which events from World War II took place using only latitude and longitude coordinates.  Once located, the students then measure just how far away these points are from their school or hometown.  All of this activity then culminates with the students putting both their location and their measured distances onto an arrow-marker which is then affixed to a wooden sign-post, just like G.I.’s did during World War II and similar in style to the Leyte sign-post depicted in this iconic WWII photograph .

Both students and veterans enjoyed the activity and the Earth ball.  Many students, after locating one World War II position, brought over their teachers or friends to tell and show them what they had learned (and to, in turn, challenge their teacher or peers to see if they could do the same).  Many of the veterans made use of the inflatable globe too by showing students exactly where they had served around the world; seamlessly bringing together narratives stretching from the Second World War to the modern day.

With several new programs developed, the Red Ball Express looks forward to bringing its fun, hands-on brand of World War II education to schools and community events throughout the greater New Orleans area.

Posted by Collin Makamson, Red Ball Express Coordinator at the National WWII Museum

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