Thursday, September 30, 2010

"A few days away..."

How do you prepare for the biggest trip of a lifetime? This whole experience thus far has felt surreal. It’s hard to believe it’s actually happening. For the past several months, I have been soaking up everything I can about WWII, mostly the European theater and the 101st Airborne.

I’ve plunged into readings and personal accounts of the conditions and battles that took place there. All of that and yet I still feel so blind to the realness in what these men have been through. As I’ve watched documentaries and have read their stories, I somehow feel like I know them. Or at least feel as if I’ve been watching pieces of their past. We haven’t met, and yet they are familiar. They’re already my heroes.

All that’s left to do now is go. Oh, but going feels so huge. I’m being handed an opportunity that is a blessing beyond my understanding. When my mind drifts away to the first day of our trip, this Saturday (which is quite soon!) my heart jumps. We’ve been prepped with how life changing this trip will be. At least for me, I know that I won’t be able to put the “life changing” part into meaning until I’m there.

In this moment my thoughts circulate on my physical preparation, which consists mostly of; “Allison don’t forget anything…don’t forget that extra camera card…don’t let your passport out of your sight…oh and remember to bring the comfortable shoes…and don’t you dare sleep in on Saturday and make everyone late to the airport.” When I can finally quiet all of that, my mind goes to one thing. I can’t wait to meet them.

Only a few days away…and I’ll be in the presence of America’s heroes…my heroes.

Submitted by Allison Press

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

20 students to escort Veterans to Normandy, France, October 2-15, 2010

College of the Ozarks will send 20 students to escort Veterans to Normandy, France, October 2-15, 2010. This is the sixth trip of this kind.

The College seeks to encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country and willingness to defend it. The Patriotic Education Travel Program (through which the student-Veteran trips are coordinated) provides an invaluable experience that promotes patriotic growth in students.

Twenty students will be given the opportunity of learning firsthand about WWII from the Veterans. The trip will commemorate the actions of the 101st Airborne Division, much of which was chronicled in HBO’s popular “Band of Brothers” series.

The six Veterans who will travel with the students all served in the 101st Airborne. The trip will include visits to Paris, Normandy (Omaha Beach and Utah Beach), Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

“The upcoming trip to visit the major European battle sites, from the invasion beaches in Normandy to the capture of Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, with WWII Veterans who were members of the 101st Airborne promises to be a life-changing experience for our students,” said Sue Head, Executive Director for the Keeter Center for Character Education.

By the end of the semester, 95 College of the Ozarks students will have had the privilege of accompanying Veterans to Europe, Africa and Asia as part of the Patriotic Education Travel Program.

This trip is sponsored by College of the Ozarks through generous donations from individuals and foundations who support patriotic education.

For more information, contact The Keeter Center for Character Education at 417-690-2242 or click here to make an online gift to support patriotic education.