Looking to the past to prepare for the future
It has been 20 years since Loveland High School (LHS) Teacher Dave Volkman chaperoned his first senior trip to Washington D.C. This past Veterans Day weekend (November 8 – 11), the tradition continued – 80 plus seniors, six chaperones and one memorable experience.
“It is important to share the lessons of history and self-government, and when you can do it on site, it magnifies the power of the lessons to be learned,” said Volkman. “I want these students to realize that this nation, and its future, belongs to them. Washington reminds us that history is made by people, just like them, who were confronted with tough questions, and who had to make tough decisions.
“Washington is a memorial to the American people who have gone before us, who rose to the challenge of self-government, who paid the price, in peace or war.”
Volkman and the team spent time at Arlington National Cemetery (including the gravesite of Captain Seth Mitchell, a 1997 graduate of LHS who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009). They witnessed the changing of the guard and wreath laying ceremony by President Obama at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. They spent time at the National Archives, Mt. Vernon, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and saw several memorials/monuments, including Jefferson, Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam. They toured the U.S. Capitol.
“Washington is also a monument to the future and a question to us,” said Volkman. “Will we rise to the occasion? Will we accept the responsibilities of citizenship? Will we pay the cost, whatever that may be? My hope for these students is that they begin to grasp the tremendous responsibility of being an American – because they will write the next chapters of the American story.”