Memories Brought to Life Through a Phone Call
HI351: 20th Century War in American History II – was held Spring ’22 on Tuesdays 7-10 PM. We started with Korea and at mid-term turned to Vietnam, and then the last 4 weeks we did the US involvement in the Gulf Wars, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The class was held through Google Classroom. As a result, we had opportunities to reach out to veterans and include them in helping us understand these wars.
We were in class on Vietnam Veterans’ Remembrance Day (March 29th) and called Duane Hoesing (brother of Lisa Hoesing) and thanked him for his service to the country. Duane served with the Marine Corps in-country 1968-69. In addition, Duane had been most helpful in the curriculum work his little sister was involved in with the creation of this course – including recommending the book used for the Vietnam War (Everything We Had by Al Santoli).
The class invited Duane to come back and talk to them and he graciously accepted. Lisa then sent two more invitations to two more brothers who were in the Vietnam War during the same years as Duane’s service – Gary Hoesing (Army Veteran stationed in Virginia involved in debriefing returning Vietnam vets), and Bob Lerch (Air Force Veteran stationed in Okinawa US Air Base which was the primary loading and offloading base for the Marines).
On April 5th, the class logged in and was soon joined by all three veterans via google meet or speaker-phone for Duane. As Duane was the veteran who had actually served in-country, the older brothers deferred to him to lead the discussions. His reminiscing involved stories of both his own experience and that of his Marine buddies. He also talked at length about PTSD and how much people have learned of it and how much more is done now for veterans.
One of the students in the class was herself a veteran of Afghanistan and was very much involved in the discussions with the other veterans.
The two-hour class was one of the most poignant classes ever witnessed by all involved. It was the first time that these three brothers ever talked to each other about their varied experiences. Questions were asked by the students as well as the veterans and the depth of emotion and honesty was beyond emotional and memorable for all involved.
Lisa Hoesing (little sister) was thanked by all for making it possible. However, as I said then and will say again – it was divinely inspired. It all started with that one phone call made during class.
The students were given contact information for the three brothers, and many sent them private notes of gratitude and thanks.
Two weeks later, the class was joined by another veteran of the Gulf War Era – Chris Barrera, who had accepted an invitation from one of the students. Again, the depth of information shared and knowledge imparted was inspiring. As he knew many of the students in the class, it was equally personal and emotional.
Through the use of google classroom, opportunities like this can be created and come to fruition. This platform for leaning allows a whole new dimension to become reality – gathering people from four states to ‘the table’.
HI351 quotes from student evaluations:
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