Hello, all!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish all of my fellow American members of this forum a Happy Independence Day!

I also wanted to share my experience from yesterday. I went to watch our local minor league baseball team play. Afterward, they had a rather impressive fireworks display.

Before the game started, the ceremonial first pitches were thrown by some local WWII Vets who were guests of honor!

I was fortunate enough to be sitting right in front of a group of these vets, and I was able to talk to Ralph Osterhoudt, a member of the 575th Field Artillery Battalion who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Because these vets are local, my goal was to set up some frame-work for having Ralph and/or other local WWII vets come into my classroom and speak to my students. I thought that having the vets speak, coupled with my trademark hands-on lessons would really be incredibly informative and enjoyable.

Ralph was really enthusiastic and eager to come into my classroom. He added that he didn't like Patton, and thought that your average German civilian and soldier were good people and that high ranking German military officials and Nazi authorities were responsible for the atrocities of WWII. He said his time in the Ardennes was the most challenging time of his life, and certainly the coldest!

He then started getting choked up and said that although it's tough at times... especially when he remembers the tough times and friends he lost... he knows it is important for him to talk about his experiences.

I didn't want to bother him too much and distract him from the baseball game, so we exchanged contact information and we will be in contact soon to schedule a classroom visit!

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