Young people need to do more reading on World War I

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I share concern over the lack of knowledge about World War I detailed in “War to End All Wars Fading From Memory” (July 28). But that article contains an error that may confuse readers.

The piece refers to a memorial that honors “the 26,000 Washington, D.C., soldiers who died in the conflict,” making the District of Columbia responsible for nearly one-quarter of all American deaths in the war, which totaled approximately 116,000. The District of Columbia War Memorial commemorates the 499 citizens of the district who died in the war by inscribing their names along the base and includes in its cornerstone a list of the 26,000 residents of the district who served in the war. This local focus may well explain why “efforts to make it a national monument have stalled in Congress.”

The article goes on to describe the work of an award-winning Oklahoma teacher who has her high school seniors experience trench warfare by covering their desks with plastic and their faces with burlap. However memorable an experience this may be, let me offer a retired professor’s perspective that it will do less to increase students’ historical knowledge than a limited amount of careful reading.

Regent Square


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