April 26, 2019, Millburn Middle School, Millburn, Illinois
Years ago Don Williams and David Schroeder were having coffee one morning. They started talking about Don's Vietnam experience. Schroeder thought it might be a great way for his Social Studies students to learn about the period in U.S. history from a genuine Veteran. Williams agreed and spoke of his personal experiences to the eighth graders, not knowing what kind of reaction he might get. He was a hit and Schroeder asked him back for an encore the next semester. Schroeder and Williams extended the invitation to two other Vets of the war, Tom Gramer and Paul Baffico. They are now part of Schroeder's syllabus during "Vietnam Week" every semester. Friday, April 26th the three Veterans spent the day with multiple classes teaching with Schroeder....a thrill for all!
In gratitude, David Schroeder wrote the following:
"Vietnam Veterans are local treasures in their respective communities. As fellow citizens, we owe due respect for our Veterans’ service and sacrifice in the United States Armed Forces. It is important to offer our Vietnam Vets a platform to share their experiences to future generations of Americans.
David Schroeder, Tom Gramer, Don Williams and Paul Baffico
As a teacher and Vet myself, it is profound to witness rapport between students and our guest Vets year after year. Our Veterans speak with humility and yet with unwavering resolve of their stories of service and sacrifice.
During a portion of our time together, students engage Veterans with thoughtful questions. The transfer of knowledge, wisdom and experience between generations is sacred and lasting. Our Vietnam Vets are a testament of inspiration and perseverance that my students can be proud of and emulate as they mature into young adulthood.
The students follow up the next day by creating thank you cards to each Veteran. The cards are then delivered with care to our Veterans.
After seven years of this honored tradition, we are already anticipating and planning for next year.
Thank you, Paul, Don, and Tom."
-Teacher, David Schroeder