Empowering Students – World War 2 History Project – by David Vixie

By: David Vixie & iHistory WW2 Contest

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David Vixie has taught in the class room for over 30 years and is known for his creative teaching methods. Vixie has received numerous teaching awards including the 2004 Wells Fargo Teacher of the Year award and Walt Disney’s prestigious Teacher of the Year award in 2005. He is currently an 8th-grade Humanities teacher in Paradise, California. 

The narratives of human drama have traditionally been captured, preserved and forwarded by tradition bearers or history conscious individuals.  Most people, like my parents and grandparents and even me, never write about their experiences for the benefit of the future.  Some can’t. Some don’t know how and some are just too busy.  The majority, I surmise, just don’t consider that what they have to say is of any significant value beyond nostalgia.   Yet each story is incredibly valuable as a source of new information, of unique and typical experiences and of personal perspective.

The iHistory WW2 video contest will empower students to become historians.  It will give them the ability to capture the story of the common person, as well as the elite.  It will give educators and students a practical and valued role in gathering narratives that will help document the diverse American experience.   It grants them the privilege of working with the Library of Congress to preserve and forward their stories into the future.  Every interview is a moment when a student will have taken their face out of a cold textbook and looked into the warm face of a real person who shaped the democracy and freedom which they have passed forward.  It puts them in a position to receive that inheritance with respect and gratitude. Every story is important for it is in the gathering of an immense variety of voices from the participants of historic events that we can help to bring equality to the historical record.   Each interview will capture an important voice before it becomes historically silent.

-David Vixie

To learn how to enter the contest and view the Official Rules, please visit: http://www.heroes-ww2.org

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The Men We Honor – July 4th – by Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory WW2 Video Contest

By: Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory WW2

Growing up as a young child I remember the 4th of July as a time that meant spending time at with grandparents, parades, music, people, watermelons, new adventures, and of course, fireworks! The very first time I saw fireworks I think I cried from the loud bangs, but, as most young boys, I soon came to love the annual pyrotechnic shows. I even studied them and learned the names of the different types of fireworks.

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This view of the 4th of July started changing, however, when I began interviewing World War II veterans for my documentary, For the Love of Freedom, when I was 20 years old. Listening to them recount stories of how they stormed beaches in the South Pacific, flew bombing raids over Berlin, or held a dieing friend in their arms, I started appreciating the freedoms I have as an American.

A Japanese American who served in the US Army during WWII once told me, “I think too many people expect that freedom is their right. It’s not a right, it’s a privilege.”

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This weekend Americans will be enjoying cookouts, family & friends, fun with the kids on Slip-’n-Slides, outdoor concerts, parades, and fireworks. But let’s not forget what we are celebrating and remember to teach our children the history of those who 65+ years ago fought on foreign soil to protect our freedoms.

As the Worthington Foundation is preparing to announce the dates and prizes of the iHistory WW2 video competition, I’m reminded of what President John F. Kennedy said, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors and by the men it remembers.”

For more information about the iHistory WW2 contest visit our website or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org

Honor & Respect (Normandy American Cemetery) – D-Day June 6 1944 – by Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory WW2 Video Contest

By: Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory WW2

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Three years ago today I was privileged to be on the beaches of Normandy for the ceremonies commemorating the 66th anniversary of the landing of the American and Allied forces on D-Day.  It was humbling to stand among the men who fought to give freedom to others.  Men who risked everything to free an entire continent that was under the oppression and persecution of Nazi Germany.

One thing I will never forget at Normandy was seeing how respectful the French were by adopting the headstones of fallen American soldiers.  It was a tradition started  almost immediately after the D-Day invasion in June 1944 – local families made sure that each soldier’s grave near their village was tended to.  That tradition has been handed down through the generations, and is continued to today.

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These photos are candid pictures of a French family paying their respects to a fall soldier, and teaching the next generation to do the same.
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Traditionally French families tend the grave sites of soldiers who died fighting near their home or village.

The family brought small bags of sand from Omaha beach and had each boy rub the sand on the headstones they visited in order to view the solder’s names more clearly.  Then they placed flowers in front of the headstones and took a picture of the boys, before moving on to honor another fallen hero.

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Young boys posing briefly for a picture by the headstone of an American soldier.

I candidly observed this ritual being repeated throughout the afternoon.  Many other grateful French families were also there paying their respects to the men who paid the ultimate price for their freedom.

PFC Richard Kunkel, New York. Killed in action June 6, 1944.
Richard Kunkel (PFC, 501st Parachute Infantry Regt, 101st Airborne Division) of New York was killed in action June 6, 1944, in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. He was posthumous awarded a Purple Heart.

Since the French haven’t forgotten the price of their freedom, I pray that we as Americans  never will either.  Yet today, a growing percentage of youth lack basic knowledge about WWII or Hitler’s atrocities.  Help us change this by passing along the legacy of the Greatest Generation by spreading the word about the iHistory WW2 video contest for today’s junior high and high school students!

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And remember to thank a veteran… they’re often disguised as retired businessmen,  volunteers, Wal-Mart greeters, and great-grandparents.  For more information, visit the iHistory WW2 website or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org

Roosevelt’s Infamy Speech – Pearl Harbor – December 8, 1941 – By Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory Project

By: Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory Project

One day after the Empire of Japan’s attack on Hawaii and Pearl Harbor, the United States President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, delivered this speech to a Joint Session of Congress.  The speech is best known for the line “December 7, 1941… a date which will live in infamy.” Unfortunately many students today do not know what happened at Pearl Harbor that day.

But there is something you can do to help educate today’s teens by getting them to learn out nations history from the people who were there… before it is too late. Roughly a 1,000 World War II veterans die everyday. The New York Times said that by 2020 there won’t be any left at all.

Please visit http://www.ihistoryprojectww2.org to see how you can help in your community!

If you have any questions or need more information please visitor our website iHistory Project: WW2 or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org

Veterans Day – By Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory Project

By: Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory Project

“We celebrate this Veterans Day for a very few minutes, a few seconds of silence and then this country’s life goes on.  But I think it most appropriate that we recall on this occasion, and on every other moment when we are faced with great responsibilities, the contribution and the sacrifice which so many men and their families have made in order to permit this country to now occupy its present position of responsibility and freedom, and in order to permit us to gather here together.” -John F. Kennedy (November 11, 1961)

The iHistory Project and the Worthington Foundation wish to thank all of our military service men and women, as well as those who are supporting them as they maintain the frontiers of freedom!

UPDATE: iHistory Project is now officially a non-profit! – By Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory Project

By: Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory Project

Hey Everyone!

I’m very happy to announce that we recently received our 501c3 non-profit status!  We, at the Worthington Foundation are very excited for what this means in the coming months!  Thank you for your support over the years.   We started the iHistory Project back in 2009 and it has been quite a journey.

When we started the iHistory Project, in the Fall of 2009, we looked to partner with other non-profit organizations in order to save the time of having to file to become 501(c)(3) ourselves, but because of the economic down turn, most organizations were not taking on new projects.  So in June 2010, we hired a paralegal, who came highly recommended and whom we had worked with previously, to file our own 501(c)(3) application.  Unfortunately, he led us on a wild goose chase for 18 months.  He took our money and, to the best of our knowledge, he’s residing in Europe.  It was mid-2011 before we realized that he was not doing the work he had claimed.  This was confirmed a few months later when the IRS said that he had never contacted them on our behalf.  Needless to say, that was devastating news.

It took a few months for us to untangle the mess he left behind.  So, in January 2012, we again began the process of applying to become non-profit organization.  However, this time was with a reputable company, thus, we are glad to report that in October, 2012, we (the Worthington Foundation) finally received our 501(c)(3) non-profit status!

Preserve our World War II veterans’ history while bridging the generational gap with today’s youth.  Spread the word about the iHistory Project with your family, friends, and teachers, via Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Remember to download our flyer (Click Here)!

For more details on how to get your teens involved with our iHistory Project, go to our website: www.Heroes-WW2.org

Talk again soon.

Jeffrey Worthington

Worthington Foundation

Project Director (iHistory Project)

Remembering the D-Day Landing At Normandy – June 6, 1944 (Part 2)

Utah Beach, Normandy, France

“They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest—until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violence’s of war.”

Paratroopers reenacting the D-day jump on location just outside of Saint Mere Eglise, France (2010).

“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.”  – President Franklin D. Roosevelt — June 6, 1944

Remember to thank a veteran… they’re often disguised as a Wal-Mart greeters, volunteers, and grandparents.  For more information, visit the iHistory Project-WW2 or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org