September 3, 2009 10:48:00 AM
Neal Wagner -
Columbus High School students soon will have an opportunity to take part in a national program aimed at helping preserve veterans'' legacies.
U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., made a stop at the Friendly City school Wednesday to encourage local students to participate in the Veterans History Project.
Through the project, 11th- and 12th-grade students across the nation interview U.S. veterans who served in World War I, World War II, the Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm or Afghanistan or Iraqi conflicts.
The students record their interviews and later send them to the Library of Congress, where they will be "preserved forever," Childers said.
"Every night when the clock strikes midnight, this country loses about 1,800 veterans a day," Childers told a group of more than 200 CHS students, many of whom were dressed in Junior ROTC uniforms.
"When you agree to participate in this program, you are helping to preserve these veterans'' memories and their experiences forever," Childers added.
Although all CHS teachers and administrators will not require students to participate in the program, the school will publicize the project and encourage students to take part, according to Columbus Municipal School District Superintendent Del Phillips.
"Some of the International Baccalaureate teachers will be requiring it, and we will be encouraging all students to participate in it," Phillips said.
"Please make sure you get involved in the Veterans History Project," CHS Principal Craig Shannon told the students. "It will definitely be a worthwhile experience, and something you can share with your children and grandchildren."
Although the program has been offered nationwide since 2000, Childers said he was working to make students in Mississippi''s 1st Congressional District more aware of the area''s veterans.
"I just wanted the counties in Mississippi''s 1st Congressional District to be a part of this wonderful program," Childers said. "I want Mississippi''s veterans to be heard, and their stories to be told.
"Part of the reason none of you ever have to be ashamed to be an American is because of these veterans," Childers added. "Please take the time to read and honor an American veteran and preserve their legacy forever."