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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 5:41 pm | Partly Cloudy 54º


Reenactors Give Students World War I History Lesson

The experiences of World War I troops were brought to life for Anacapa School students who attended the recent Channel City Club luncheon — Over There WW1, 100 Years On — that commemorated the sacrifices made by that war's veterans.

Students learned about the trying times of German, French, British and American soldiers in the trenches during key battles as told through re-enactors.

Because of the work of the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, all of the school's students had the opportunity to attend the event. Following are some thoughts a few students shared after hearing the World War I stories.

“Anacapa School attended the Channel City Club’s and Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation’s luncheon on the 100 the year anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I.

"There we got to observe tables full of WW1 memorabilia, ate a delightful meal, and listened to a multitude of speakers, including dignitaries from four countries, who spoke about the war as relating to their respective countries.

"Next, four reenactors showed us a glimpse into the experiences of individual soldiers in the war. It was fascinating how each speaker showed us a slightly different perspective on this complex conflict.

"Lt. Col. John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields was mentioned multiple times, as was the symbolism of the poppy.

"I had known the red poppy was somehow a symbol of remembrance, but, thanks to the speakers, I learned the story behind it:

"How the poppy grew from the scorched battlefields in Europe, and how this poem immortalized it as a symbol of remembering sacrifice, and of lasting hope." — Josh Colahan, Anacapa junior.

“Reenactors told stories of experiences on the battlefield, and representatives from Belgium, Canada, France and Great Britain discussed their nations’ perspectives on the war.

"The poem In Flanders Fields, written by Col. John McCrae in memory of those who died in combat, was read by one speaker.

"The British representative told us of the roles of women in the war, such as one woman who disguised herself as a man to fight for her country.

"These additional perspectives built on the knowledge of World War I that we recently learned in Anacapa’s World History class.” — Anne Burdette, Anacapa sophomore

“It was said to be the war to end all wars. Nearly 38 million civilians and military casualties were inflicted upon the world, a loss so great it is incomprehensible to the human mind.

" Reenactors from France, Britain, Germany and the United States spoke to the crowds about their horrible experiences on the battlefield.

"They all shared a common hatred for the trenches they had to spend time in, especially the dreaded 'trench foot,' which was common for soldiers to get as they were not able to maintain dry feet.

"Many morbid lessons were taught to those that attended the luncheon by the soldiers of each nation.

"Through their haunting accounts of the first World War, we learned the least we can do is to remember them and celebrate the sacrifices made by every country.” — Chase Halperin, Anacapa senior.

— Karen Callanan for Anacapa School.

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