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Traveling To Normandy For History Lesson Of A Lifetime

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Aired 5/30/11

A San Diego student and his teacher are about to walk in the footsteps of history. They're traveling to the beaches of Normandy for a special lesson of a lifetime.

A San Diego student and his teacher are about to embark on a history lesson of a lifetime.

A Coast Guard-manned LCVP from the U.S.S. Samuel Chase disembarks troops of Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division on the morning of 6 June 1944 at Omaha Beach.
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Above: A Coast Guard-manned LCVP from the U.S.S. Samuel Chase disembarks troops of Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division on the morning of 6 June 1944 at Omaha Beach.

Rows of white crosses in the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial mark the graves of the thousands of U.S. servicemembers who gave their lives during the D-Day invasion of June 1944.
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Above: Rows of white crosses in the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial mark the graves of the thousands of U.S. servicemembers who gave their lives during the D-Day invasion of June 1944.

Francis Parker School history teacher, Cherie Redelings, and 11th grader Carter Scott, are among 15 student/teacher teams from around the nation selected to participate in a rigorous study of the D-Day invasion of June 1944.

They’ll start in Washington, DC at the World War II monuments. From there, they’ll travel to Normandy, France.

Scott said he’s anticipating a very humbling experience.

“By walking the beaches and by going where the American soldiers went, I can better connect  with what they did, what they accomplished, and really kind of put it into perspective,” said Scott.

As part of the project, Scott is researching a local soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice. He chose Capt. Frank N. Fitch.

“He was in the brunt of the fighting, one of the first off the ship, and he died on June 6, he died on D-Day.”

Scott will honor the veteran by laying a wreath at his tomb at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.

Scott’s teacher Cherie Redelings said she can’t wait to bring the lessons back to the classroom.

“When you teach history, it’s really difficult to actually visit the places and see artifacts associated with what you teach," said Redelings. "So this is like the most authentic history teaching experience ever. It’s almost as good as going back in a time machine to actually be on site.”

The National History Day project is dedicated to ensuring students have an understanding of the veterans who served in WWII and the significance of their sacrifice.

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