Amarillo students to learn about Vietnam War from local veterans

Amarillo students to learn about Vietnam War from local veterans

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo schools will soon have access to interviews with local Vietnam veterans to use when teaching about the war.

"Students need to understand why America is the way we are today, and that it started with Vietnam," said Dana Beck, curriculum specialist for Region 16 Education Service Center.

Beck said their goal was to make lessons that kids could connect with on a personal level.

"Each one of these lesson plans bring in the local impact, so that if you are in Dalhart or Childress, you can connect with somebody who was in the war," said Beck.

Teachers will have a wealth of information and resources to use when planning their lessons, because PBS previously interviewed local veterans as part of a upcoming documentary by Ken Burns.

"We wrote the lesson plans so teachers can incorporate these snippets from people in their own communities, not just here in Amarillo, but throughout the entire Panhandle," said Beck.

A local Vietnam veteran says there are details about the Vietnam War which are still relevant today.

"It's going to be very interesting and knowledgeable for the kids to know why we are in wars, not just Vietnam," said Rangel.

Beck said she hopes the interviews will help teachers plan around excursions related to Vietnam, like a traveling memorial wall which will soon stop in Amarillo.

"The wall is going to be here in December, so teachers will have the opportunity to use these lesson plans to guide the students as they talk about the wall, and hopefully go to see the wall," said Beck.
Rangel said hopes the new curriculum will change the way Vietnam is sometimes perceived.

"It was represented by a lot of protests, and they forgot what the men and women were doing overseas fighting for their freedom," said Rangel.

The new Vietnam curriculum is expected to be used this spring, and will be available for all grades except 8th.

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