Today I had the pleasure of observing a unique class at Newnan High School, about fifty miles from where we live. For several years now, a friend of mine has been sharing a part of his past with students in this class about his time as a combat helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. Another pilot from a different unit and time in Vietnam also spoke. If you know anything about this group of men, Vietnam veterans, you know it doesn't matter if they knew each other then or not, they are still "brothers." A bond only they understand.
I was pleasantly surprised when students came in, introduced themselves individually and shook hands with all three of us as they filed into the classroom.
The class is called The Vietnam War, taught only by Steve Quisenberry. I mentioned it was unique, and it is. It's the only class of its kind in the entire State of Georgia. Students that sign up for this class are hand-picked by Mr. Quisenberry and is an advanced elective. Not everyone gets in! In the class syllabus online it clearly states that these students will be "active, aggressive learners, not passive!"
Terry Garlock and Mike King spoke to the students about the ugly side of the Vietnam War and clearly pointed out that all war is ugly. The Vietnam War was no uglier than World War II!
They spoke of some funny events that happened while they were there, and covered some awful things. They explained what media slant took hold during "their war" and how it's still slanted today. Terry encouraged the students to think for themselves! Don't just take everything reported as the final word. Be informed! He suggested watching the news and reading two newspapers. Read one that leans left, like our Atlanta Journal Constitution, and one that leans right, like the Wall Street Journal. And, after doing all that: form your own opinion.
The powerpoint contained slides from both of their time in-country, but also covered some Myths and Truths about the Vietnam War.
Kudos to Terry Garlock and Mike King for sharing a part of their past, real history you won't find in any curriculum history book. Priceless!
Kudos to Steve Quisenberry for stepping outside the box to bring this unique, informative, unabridged lesson to these students.
For these young adults this class and this teacher will be remembered long after they leave Newnan High School.
And kudos to these mature students who are really interested in the true history of a war that left so many scars.