Great Holiday Movie for Students – The Book Thief – iHistory WW2 Video Contest for Teens

By: Janelle Worthington & iHistory WW2 Contest

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The Book Thief – Now in theaters!

The Book Thief chronicles the story of a determined and spirited girl, Liesel, and her penchant for “borrowed” books.

The story begins in pre-war Germany, where Liesel, quiet and illiterate, arrives at her adoptive home with only a few belongings and a book she acquired from a gravedigger. With the loving support of her new Papa (Geoffrey Rush), she slowly begins to learn to read and write. The basement walls evolve into a giant dictionary. However, soon the basement shelters a secret and forbidden houseguest, and the family must take courage in their trust of each other in order to survive.

This houseguest helps Liesel to see beyond just the words themselves and challenges her to observe and write about what she sees outside the basement walls: “If your eyes could speak, what would they say?”

As Liesel and her family and friends struggle against hunger, illness, and the terror of air raids, she sees the value of using words to create stories to encourage those around her in their efforts to survive their harsh conditions.  Her courage becomes contagious!

This is an inspiring movie for youth, as it demonstrates the power of compassion, determination to learn, and the power of words.

It shows that once someone is motivated to learn and they are provided with compassion, encouragement, inspiration, and resources, they can succeed.  It is also a lesson to adults and teachers regarding the importance of using opportunities to give that compassion, encouragement, inspiration, and resources to those around us.

If you are interested in inspiring today’s youth by connecting them with American WWII veterans in an effort to collect the stories of our courageous veterans before they are lost forever, please visit our iHistory WW2 video contest website!  Public online voting of the entrants will be January 6-17, 2014!

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Pearl Harbor Veterans Honored at US Navy Memorial in Washington DC – December 7, 2013 – iHistory WW2 Video Contest for Students

By: Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory WW2 Contest

On December 7th I had the honor of attending the Pearl Harbor memorial service at the US Navy Memorial in Washington DC.  Pearl Harbor survivors present were; Major Albert Grasselli, who was a PFC stationed at Ewa Beach Marine Airfield when the Japanese attacked, and STC Howard Snell who was stationed at Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor.

There were only two veterans of Pearl Harbor who were able to come. It’s sad to think that soon there won’t be any left.  Seeing them reminded me of the urgency of  connecting today’s youth with the Greatest Generation and collecting the remaining WWII veterans’ stories while we still can.  I am very grateful for the opportunity I had to know and interview a local New Mexico veteran of Pearl Harbor (read the story on my previous blog post) and I strive to inspire today’s youth to do the same via our iHistory WW2 video contest.

As a professional photographer I always have my camera with me.  Below are some of the moving event in Washington D.C.

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Color Guard during a Pearl Harbor service at the US Navy Memorial in Washington DC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STC (SS) Howard Snell USN talking with JROTC students.
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Rear Adm. Mark Rich, commandant of Naval District Washington, shakes the hand of Pearl Harbor survivor, Major Albert Grasselli, who was a PFC stationed at Ewa Beach Marine Airfield when the Japanese attacked. Grasselli is also a veteran of the Battle of Midway.
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Lou Large, president of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, speaking at the service.
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A great group of JROTC students came for the event.
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Left to right: Unknown Naval Office, Rear Adm. Mark Rich, Lou Large, and Pearl Harbor veterans STC Howard Snell, and Major Albert Grasselli.
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It was moving to see the respect of the passersby.
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A child bows his head during the chaplain’s prayer.
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The Honor Guard.
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Rear Adm. Mark Rich walks Lou Large to place a wreath.
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Major Albert Grasselli shakes hand of a JROTC cadet.
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STC (SS) Howard Snell, survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack, with iHistory Contest founder & project director, Jeffrey Worthington.


For updates and to learn more about the iHistory WW2 Contest, visit our website (www.ihistoryprojectww2.org), and be sure to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Help us continue the iHistory Contest by making a tax-deductible donation on our website: DONATE

Pearl Harbor Veterans Remembered – iHistory WW2 Video Contest for Students

By: Jeffrey Worthington & Heather Van Allen

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Jeffrey Worthington speaking with WWII veteran, a survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack, Scotty Burrows. (Photo 2006)

On December 7, 1941, U.S. military servicemen woke up to what should have been a normal Sunday morning on the naval base at Pearl Harbor, on the south side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. But everything changed at 7:55 a.m., when the Japanese launched a surprise attack. During the just under two hours that followed, Japanese planes attacked in two waves, focusing on eight U.S. battleships and either sinking or damaging each one. The assault also damaged 13 ships of other types, bringing the total number to 21. Additionally, the Japanese struck several American airfields with the goal of destroying planes on the ground to minimize counter-attacks by the U.S.  The raids left 2,335 U.S. servicemen dead and 1,143 wounded.

Founder of the iHistory WW2 Contest, Jeffrey Worthington, had the honor of interviewing  Scotty Burrows, a local New Mexican WWII veteran who was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked.

Burrows was the bugler at Pear Harbor the morning of December 7th, 1941.  He was standing with two other Marines at the flag poll waiting to sound morning First Call, but when Japanese planes screaming overhead, Burrows immediately called “Air Defense” instead.  He was ordered to grab a rifle and run down to the hospital because a Japanese plane had crashed into it and they wanted to see if there were any survivors they could take hostage.  Upon arriving at the hospital he found no survivors from the plane. He was then ordered to help guard a nearby airfield in case of a Japanese invasion, where he spent one of the longest nights of his life.  It was a common belief at the time that Japan might try to invade the islands that night.  For the next 14 days, Burrows was assigned to play Taps for the burials of the Americans killed in the attack.

Burrows served the rest of World War II as a Marine in the Pacific, and was part of the Battle of Tassafaronga aboard the USS Minneapolis.  Sadly, like too many WWII veterans, Burrows passed away a few years ago.  I once asked him if he had advice to today’s youth.  He responded, “Go to your library and learn. Go to the library and read. Go and listen. Watch the History Channel and the Discovery Channel.”

This Pearl Harbor Day, join us in remembering and honoring those who were lost 72 years ago today, as well as those who lived to tell the story.

Help us continue the iHistory Contest by making a tax-deductible donation on our website: DONATE

Thank You for Participating in the iHistory WW2 Video Contest!

By: Heather Van Allen & Jeffrey Worthington

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Thank you to all who participated in the iHistory WW2 Video Contest!  We received video interview submissions from students all across the nation!  The involvement of teachers, parents, and others who showed a desire to help teens preserve the stories connected to such an important period of U.S. and world history was fantastic!

Submissions will be reviewed in Washington D.C. the first week of December.  Online public viewing and voting of the 3-5 minute videos will be January 6-17, 2014.

We would especially like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of the WWII veterans who were a part of this project, and also for their service to our country!

Do you have a story about your experience in interviewing your veteran, or what you learned by participating in the contest?  Please send us your stories and feedback at: info@ihistoryproject.org and we may use it in a future blog.

Again, thank you for your entries to the iHistory WW2 contest!  You have made a positive mark on history!

For updates visit the iHistory WW2 website (www.ihistoryprojectww2.org), and be sure to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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!