For the 8th consecutive year, teacher David Schroeder has helped his Social Studies students at Milburn Middle School in Lindenhurst understand the Vietnam War in a way textbooks alone cannot provide.
Schroeder, a Navy Veteran himself, has brought Vietnam Veterans into his classes so that students could hear firsthand what the Vietnam war experience was like. For all eight of those years, Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation Founder and President Paul Baffico were one of those Veterans.
On May 6, Baffico spoke to three eighth-grade classes, about 60 students in all. He shared his experience as a combat communication platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division. Baffico described what it was like to keep communications going between headquarters and the fighting units in the field.
Baffico told the students about losing five of his men and what it’s like to visit the Vietnam Wall, returning every month as a docent as he has done for many years to honor those who have fallen.
In addition to asking Baffico questions, students role-played scenarios in which they became quasi-Vietnam war protestors, drill sergeants, and members of basic training units, all designed to give them a sense of what the Vietnam war years were like.
The students wrote cards thanking Baffico for sharing his Vietnam experiences.
Here are some of their comments:
“Thank you for opening our eyes to what it is really like to serve.”
“I hope your actions will never be forgotten.”