A unique field trip for Long Island’s history students:
A World War II battlefield
Old Bethpage, N.Y. – In a move designed to confront the growing disconnect with the lessons of World War II, the most seminal conflict of the last one hundred years, The Museum of American Armor, the Long Island Living History Group (LILHG) and Nassau County’s Old Bethpage Village Restoration are launching a joint educational program that will allow over a thousand Long Island school students to strengthen their understanding of that conflict with a field trip that places them literally “on the battlefield.”
Entitled “Your Family’s World War II Legacy,” the program integrates classroom curriculum with a field trip to the museum on Friday, April 13th where operational armor and military field tactics will be presented in open woods reminiscent of World War II France.
Lawrence Kadish, president and founder of the museum, stated, “There is not a family anywhere on Long Island that is not directly connected to the legacy of World War II. The challenge in sustaining that heritage is that the hard lessons learned from that war are rarely explored in any depth in the classroom. This program changes the conversation.”
Gloria Sesso of the Long Island Council of the Social Studies stated, “The New York State Regents has shown little interest in this era and its continuing impact on the world around us. If the enormous legacy of that earlier American generation is to be upheld, it will be up to us to make a difference. This program addresses what has become a crisis of history illiteracy where students have difficulty identifying not only the root causes of World War II but who were the combatants.”
Participating Long Island school districts will have students arriving at Old Bethpage Village Restoration throughout the day on April 13th where living historians will introduce them to how, where and why World War II was fought, followed by armor and infantry field exercises that assault an enemy position. Park officials expect over 1,000 students to visit the military encampment throughout the day.
Sesso observed, “This program builds on efforts of the armor museum, living historians and Nassau County to create a lasting educational environment that multitasks Old Bethpage Village Restoration. As educators, we welcome them as allies in helping tell the story of a war that forever changed the course of history and one that continues to direct the actions of nations around the world.”
Dr. Libby O’Connell, History Channel Chief Historian Emeritus and Chairperson of the NYC World War I Centennial Commission, said, “This day-long program has the means to become a statewide model for field trips that immerse students in a period of time that remains a pivotal moment in world history. Those school districts that participate should be commended for going above and beyond the curriculum that seeks merely to `teach to the test.’ Equally important, commendations should be offered to the Museum of American Armor, the living historians and Nassau County for placing these assets before educators and their students.”