Students raise #036;2,000 for WWII Memorial

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2000

To fourth-grade teachers Bobby Jean Cumbie and Regina Parker at Fort Dale Academy, teaching history can not only teach students about the nation's past, it can also help preserve that history for future generations.

Cumbie's and Parker's students have spent a large part of the school year raising money for the new World War II veterans memorial in Washington D.C. as part of their history class, and have also met some veterans who have brought with them some exciting stories and actual pieces of American history.

The students began the fundraiser on Veterans

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and dedicated that day's class to learning more about the war and the importance of the memorial.

The World War II Memorial will be a tribute to individual Americans who helped lead the allies to victory in the largest war of all time and one of the defining events of the twentieth century.

This will be the first

national memorial acknowledging the commitment and achievement of the entire nation.

The memorial was approved by President Bill Clinton on May 23, 1993, authorizing the American Battle Monuments Commission to establish the World War II Memorial in the nation's capital. Primary funding for the $100 million tribute must be raised from private contributions. Once constructed the memorial will be located directly between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

Cumbie said the idea to raise money for the memorial came from a personal desire to see veterans of the war remembered.

"I came up with the idea because my husband served in the war and I knew they were having trouble raising money," she said. "The students liked the idea, and we were able to couple the effort with our study of World War II."

"By taking a role in helping to build the monument

the students have become more interested in what happened. It is important for their generation to remember the men who fought overseas and those who helped in the effort at home so that they can pass it down to the next generation some day," she said.

The group originally set its goal at $200, but eventually raised 10 times that amount, or $2,000 for the memorial in Washington.

"Each student was responsible for raising $4, but we had several students who raised much more than that in only the first week," she said. "Several of the students found businesses in the area that would allow them to put donation jars up, and they raised quite a bit thay way."

Cumbie said her student Haden Brown placed a donation jar in Champion Trophies that raised $60 in the first week and eventually helped the group raise more than $100. The top collector, Cliff Burkett, raised more than $200 through a similar effort.

Each year Cumbie and Parker require some special work of their students while they concentrate on World War II. Each child is required to do an oral interview with a veteran of the war. Guest speakers were also invited to share their experiences and mementos of their service in the war.

"I think the children learn more by touching and seeing than they will ever learn out of a book," Cumbie said. "This helps the students remember what they learn forever and gives them a sense of what it was like to grow up in a time of war."