Europe Day at Smith Middle

Europe Day at Smith Middle

Tuesday, May 15

An afternoon of good food, great learning and celebration!

Europe Day at Smith Middle school was quite an event. All activities were funded by the European Union's "Getting to Know Europe" grant awarded to Smith Middle and Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools. Students, teachers and parents were treated to free crepes from "Parlez-vous crepe?", a taste of croque-monsieur from "Provence" and some Greek food from Mediterranean Deli - a European feast of new tastes that had everyone asking for more. The Euro Mania Jeopardy Challenge between the four middle school teams has prompted many students to consider investigating the Euro-challenge when they enter high school, and the Walk for Unity down the main hall (followed by Daniel's exceptional beats on the drum) was full of animation and laughter. The night settled into amazing stories of leadership and liberation by WWII veteran and French Legion of Honor recipient Robert Patton. He held the audience spellbound not only by his accounts of liberation of concentration camps but also by his passion for remembrance of historical events that shaped our world and will continue to impact the future. The evening ended with an exceptional presentation on the history and mission of the European Union and its impact on the international stage by Erica Edwards, director of UNC's Center for European Studies. What did you learn about the European Union, Europe or WWII during this event? What new foods did you try? What was your favorite part of the afternoon/evening? If you wrote a letter or essay, please share your thoughts here - click on "comments', type your response (or copy and paste your letter) and write your first name w/ first initial of last name. Merci beaucoup!!!

72 comments:

H said...

Henry C.--- Europe Day

May 9th: A Day For the World

On May 9, 1945, the last soldier died and the Second World War came to an end.This marked a monumental day for all of the world. Now, sixty-seven years later, America, who played a key role in bringing the war to an end, doesn’t celebrate this date. It is known as Europe Day and is only celebrated in Europe. I believe that it is time for America to join Europe in an annual celebration -not just Europe Day, but also World Peace Day.
In World War II, 48 million people around the world died; more than any other war. Hundreds of thousands of United States soldiers died even though a large part of the war was fought in Europe, away from American soil. I think we should honor those brave Americans who died in this war with the other soldiers the rest of the world on May 9.
America fought alongside many Allies including France, England, Soviet Union. Together, the countries fought to defeat Germany and Japan and other Axis powers. Yet, only a small portion of the Allied forces join now to celebrate and remember. If America includes May 9th as a national holiday, most of the Allies and some of the Axis can all observe this day.
The war ended in 1945, and now it is 2012. As every day goes by, more and more World War Veterans are passing away. With them goes their memories, stories, and past. With each generation, less and less knowledge is being passed down. On this past Europe Day, we listened to veteran General Patton. It was an experience that I will never forget. He talked about his experiences in World War Two. It is people like him that are sharing the past, but they are passing away. We must ensure that this World War will never be forgotten. I believe that a celebration of the end of the war will help ensure that such a war never happens again.
If America didn’t step in to help the Allies towards the end of the war, France and Belgium could both be a part of Germany right now. The United States was instrumental in securing victory. We sacrificed our US soldiers on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) to finish the war. Even so, with a Parisian Boulevard named after the president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and countless thankful French and Belgian people, the United States still doesn’t celebrate with the rest of Europe.
There has never been anything on the scale of World War Two. After the first war ended, people called it ‘The War to End All Wars’, because it was so brutal nobody believed that anything on this level could happen again. Alas, just twenty years later, an even bigger war began. This didn’t just span Europe, but also all of the world. America celebrates the end of World War One, but not World War Two!
There are many reasons why the USA should celebrate the end of the Second World War. as how so many people died, that America fought with European Countries, that Veterans dying each day, that America was instrumental to the victory, and because the Second World War was so huge, spanning the whole world.

H said...

Henry C.--- Europe Day

May 9th: A Day For the World

On May 9, 1945, the last soldier died and the Second World War came to an end.This marked a monumental day for all of the world. Now, sixty-seven years later, America, who played a key role in bringing the war to an end, doesn’t celebrate this date. It is known as Europe Day and is only celebrated in Europe. I believe that it is time for America to join Europe in an annual celebration -not just Europe Day, but also World Peace Day.
In World War II, 48 million people around the world died; more than any other war. Hundreds of thousands of United States soldiers died even though a large part of the war was fought in Europe, away from American soil. I think we should honor those brave Americans who died in this war with the other soldiers the rest of the world on May 9.
America fought alongside many Allies including France, England, Soviet Union. Together, the countries fought to defeat Germany and Japan and other Axis powers. Yet, only a small portion of the Allied forces join now to celebrate and remember. If America includes May 9th as a national holiday, most of the Allies and some of the Axis can all observe this day.
The war ended in 1945, and now it is 2012. As every day goes by, more and more World War Veterans are passing away. With them goes their memories, stories, and past. With each generation, less and less knowledge is being passed down. On this past Europe Day, we listened to veteran General Patton. It was an experience that I will never forget. He talked about his experiences in World War Two. It is people like him that are sharing the past, but they are passing away. We must ensure that this World War will never be forgotten. I believe that a celebration of the end of the war will help ensure that such a war never happens again.
If America didn’t step in to help the Allies towards the end of the war, France and Belgium could both be a part of Germany right now. The United States was instrumental in securing victory. We sacrificed our US soldiers on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) to finish the war. Even so, with a Parisian Boulevard named after the president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and countless thankful French and Belgian people, the United States still doesn’t celebrate with the rest of Europe.
There has never been anything on the scale of World War Two. After the first war ended, people called it ‘The War to End All Wars’, because it was so brutal nobody believed that anything on this level could happen again. Alas, just twenty years later, an even bigger war began. This didn’t just span Europe, but also all of the world. America celebrates the end of World War One, but not World War Two!
There are many reasons why the USA should celebrate the end of the Second World War. as how so many people died, that America fought with European Countries, that Veterans dying each day, that America was instrumental to the victory, and because the Second World War was so huge, spanning the whole world.

Brendan H. said...

Here is my paper,

The EU
Picture this, Europe without any unity; borders are always in fracas, it is nearly impossible to trade because of the varying currency and its rates. There are also many wars and epidemics that ravage the nation. Other countries have no idea what is going on because schools don’t have opportunities to travel abroad and see the world and Europe from a different perspective. This is what Europe would look like without the tremendous efforts and works of the EU.
Ever since it has began the EU has been working to coadjute Europe. Its 27 members have all tremendously benefited from the idea and the unity it brings. Trade and economies have grown at breakneck pace for the 17 users of the Euro since it was created. The hope that all 27 members will adopt this valuable tool will never be lost, and more countries than ever before are trying to get in.
The Euro
The Euro was introduced in 1992 by the Maastritch Treaty. It was dubbed the Euro in 1995 by a Belgian teacher who taught French, after his sent a letter to The President of the European Commission, Jacques Santer.
It boosted the economy far beyond how it was projected to do so. It united Europe in ways many people wouldn’t think of as “unity”. The relationships between the using countries grew. Because think about it, if you’re in France and a shirt costs 75 €, but just a short drive away, in Germany the same shirt in the same condition costs 50 €, you could just use the exact same currency and not have to go on through the exchange process.
Benefits of Being a Part of the EU
One of the more obvious benefits of being in the EU is trade and unity, (the euro), but let’s check out some other ameliorates. One is travel, you are not required to bear a passports or papers. The country might also benefit ecologically as well, because the EU has a “standard” environmental status that it helps its countries reach. The trading is a big one, but free shipping for trading is another. Studying abroad for schools is 50x easier.
Also, Europe, in my opinion, is the most incommensurable continent in the world. The EU creates cultural unity, which can also help improve school textbooks.
Why the EU?
The idea of the EU was created after WWII, when Europe was in bedlam. Many people were doubtful, but in the end, the EU pulled Europe out of the ashes into a new age of power. It guided Europe into making better decisions, with all powers distributed equally.
Why the Exchange?
Imagine this, you are a savvy young French student, working hard, reaping the benefits, an all around great student. You work hard and have been dreaming of traveling abroad all your life. The previous grants by the EU changed the lives of a whole generation, and their community. You just are dying to go, but there is a problem, you don’t have the funds. The grant from the EU is the only way that you would be able to go on a life changing adventure.
This could be you. The Belgian Exchange Program, over the years have improved the lives and perspectives of 3 administrators, 20 teachers, and almost 100 students, and the community around them. Soon, the whole world will take notice, and it will be a big step in the relations of all countries with the EU.
Thank You
First of all, I want to thank the EU for all of the efforts they have gone through to help Smith Middle School. The grants have that they have been giving have been something Smith has not taken for granted (no pun intended). We hope that the EU will find a place in their hearts for us, and that we might receive the grant.

Brendan Holly

Patrick A. said...

Dear European Union,

My name is Patrick Aris, and I am an eighth grader at Smith Middle School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.A. Over the past six years, you have granted us with money to take students to Europe as part of the “Getting To Know Europe” program, three times. I have taken French for three years now at Smith, and I’d like to talk about how traveling to Europe as affected our students.
Nothing beats the real thing. You can sit in a classroom for years and learn about France and its language, but you will never reach your full potential sitting in a classroom. And that is what the “Getting To Know Europe” program is all about! What better way to practice a foreign language and learn about Europe than to travel there! The memories and experiences that come out of travel last a lifetime, and so do the friendships that have grown along the way.
I can’t stress how much these trips have impacted our students. As they tour Normandy, remembering the holocaust and WW2, our students really are touched on an emotional level. And when they meet up with their pen pals for the first time, you can tell that some of these kids will stay close for the rest of their lives. Whichever way you look at it, allowing these students to travel to Europe is truly a magical and life changing experience that they will always remember.
I can’t thank you enough for granting us the money, not once, but three times to support the “Getting To Know Europe” program, and I just wanted to write this letter in thanks. It means so much to our students that they get these kinds of opportunities to explore other cultures and meet new people, especially kids their age. You can only accomplish so much in a classroom, and I think that the best French classroom out there…is France. Honestly, these students learn more about France in one trip than they do with years of classwork, and I want to thank you so much for helping to make those learning experiences a reality for them. We can’t thank you enough!

Sincerely,

Patrick Aris

Rosemary Y said...

Celebrating May 8th
Rosemary Yin

Imagine a world where the policemen could arrest you and throw you into a ghetto or concentration camp based on race. Where many homes lay empty, doors ajar, windows broken, the furniture wrecked and infested with moths and termites. Where people talked in hushed voices, grouped together in tight knit circles for reassurance and safety, with terror and emptiness making their faces long, their hair streaked with gray. Where mass murders and burglary were commonplace, and orphans and widows were everywhere. This was what happened during the Holocaust, and World War II; if we don’t take action, it might happen yet again.
Many people argue that we shouldn't remember and celebrate a horrible World War that had victimized millions of people. But, there are already a large group of people who argue that the Holocaust didn't happen, despite the numerous eyewitness accounts, physical evidence, photographs and films. If we don't recognize World War II, and remember the millions, maybe billions, of people who were affected, then people might start to claim that the second world war didn't happen, also. If we don't think about anguish that was felt of the people who perished, then a third world war might be fought, the blood spilled all over again. After all, the Holocaust was forgotten, and now we have on our hands the genocides of Rwanda, Darfur, Cambodia, Bosnia, Congo, and Sudan. All of those occurred after the Holocaust, when people stopped believing. And all of those have harmed and wounded many, many people.
Although VE day, Victory in Europe day, is already a holiday, many people aren't even aware of it in the United States, much less celebrate it! What good is a holiday remembering a World War if know one honors it? We celebrate Armistice Day, November 11th, in order to remember the end of World War I, in which about 116700 American soldiers died serving their country. In World War II, there were about 16,100,000 American soldiers who served in the war, and an estimated 416,800 were killed. That's almost 4 times as many American soldiers killed. Why don't we respect them? These brave soldiers all had people they wanted to come back to, places they had wanted to go, things they still dreamed of doing. And they never got the chance to. They ultimately sacrificed everything for our country, and it's important that we recognize it, we honor the sacrifices they made, by making May 8th, the end of one of the bloodiest wars in history, a national holiday; it's imperative that we remember and honor the sacrifices made, the lives lost, and the pain endured.

Anonymous said...

Max M
Should the United States Celebrate the End of World War II?
World War II ended on May eighth, 1945, when the German forces surrendered to the Soviets. On that day many people were celebrating the fact that their loved ones were coming back. If they were happy then, why can’t we celebrate the fact that World War II ended? Even now, 67 years after World War II ended, many people are celebrating it. Much of Europe has it as a holiday, and everyone has the day off. We, as a country, were a major influence in turning the tide of the war, and I think that that is something to be celebrated.
There are only 20 countries that celebrate the end of World War II, out of the 104 countries that were directly involved or affected. I think that this date should be celebrated by all of these countries because it lets the people know what happened during this horrible time, and it is less likely to happen again. Also, all of these countries contributed or were affected by World War II, and should be honored for what they did or had to experience.
I think that the need to celebrate the of World War II is growing because of the fact that many of the veterans are getting older and unable to tell their stories, if they have not already died. These veterans stories are important, and should be much of the focus of a holiday that commemorates the end of World War II. Even though you may have never heard of these people before, hearing their personal stories can touch you in a way that learning from a textbook can not.
There are many reasons to celebrate the end of World War II, the ones that I said above are just a few. I think that this day should be celebrated in all of the 104 countries that were affected by World War II. I’m sure that their veterans are starting to die, just like the United States World War II veterans are, and I think that the best way to stop something like this from happening again is to celebrate the day it stopped.

Rosemary Y said...

Celebrating May 8th
Rosemary Yin

Imagine a world where the policemen could arrest you and throw you into a ghetto or concentration camp based on race. Where many homes lay empty, doors ajar, windows broken, the furniture wrecked and infested with moths and termites. Where people talked in hushed voices, grouped together in tight knit circles for reassurance and safety, with terror and emptiness making their faces long, their hair streaked with gray. Where mass murders and burglary were commonplace, and orphans and widows were everywhere. This was what happened during the Holocaust, and World War II; if we don’t take action, it might happen yet again.
Many people argue that we shouldn't remember and celebrate a horrible World War that had victimized millions of people. But, there are already a large group of people who argue that the Holocaust didn't happen, despite the numerous eyewitness accounts, physical evidence, photographs and films. If we don't recognize World War II, and remember the millions, maybe billions, of people who were affected, then people might start to claim that the second world war didn't happen, also. If we don't think about anguish that was felt of the people who perished, then a third world war might be fought, the blood spilled all over again. After all, the Holocaust was forgotten, and now we have on our hands the genocides of Rwanda, Darfur, Cambodia, Bosnia, Congo, and Sudan. All of those occurred after the Holocaust, when people stopped believing. And all of those have harmed and wounded many, many people.
Although VE day, Victory in Europe day, is already a holiday, many people aren't even aware of it in the United States, much less celebrate it! What good is a holiday remembering a World War if know one honors it? We celebrate Armistice Day, November 11th, in order to remember the end of World War I, in which about 116700 American soldiers died serving their country. In World War II, there were about 16,100,000 American soldiers who served in the war, and an estimated 416,800 were killed. That's almost 4 times as many American soldiers killed. Why don't we respect them? These brave soldiers all had people they wanted to come back to, places they had wanted to go, things they still dreamed of doing. And they never got the chance to. They ultimately sacrificed everything for our country, and it's important that we recognize it, we honor the sacrifices they made, by making May 8th, the end of one of the bloodiest wars in history, a national holiday; it's imperative that we remember and honor the sacrifices made, the lives lost, and the pain endured.

Anonymous said...

Max M
Should the United States Celebrate the End of World War II?
World War II ended on May eighth, 1945, when the German forces surrendered to the Soviets. On that day many people were celebrating the fact that their loved ones were coming back. If they were happy then, why can’t we celebrate the fact that World War II ended? Even now, 67 years after World War II ended, many people are celebrating it. Much of Europe has it as a holiday, and everyone has the day off. We, as a country, were a major influence in turning the tide of the war, and I think that that is something to be celebrated.
There are only 20 countries that celebrate the end of World War II, out of the 104 countries that were directly involved or affected. I think that this date should be celebrated by all of these countries because it lets the people know what happened during this horrible time, and it is less likely to happen again. Also, all of these countries contributed or were affected by World War II, and should be honored for what they did or had to experience.
I think that the need to celebrate the of World War II is growing because of the fact that many of the veterans are getting older and unable to tell their stories, if they have not already died. These veterans stories are important, and should be much of the focus of a holiday that commemorates the end of World War II. Even though you may have never heard of these people before, hearing their personal stories can touch you in a way that learning from a textbook can not.
There are many reasons to celebrate the end of World War II, the ones that I said above are just a few. I think that this day should be celebrated in all of the 104 countries that were affected by World War II. I’m sure that their veterans are starting to die, just like the United States World War II veterans are, and I think that the best way to stop something like this from happening again is to celebrate the day it stopped.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Patton,

I am an avid learner of history, and I found the stories about you in Garner News incredible. I love learning about WWII, even though I have not had a lot of opportunities to learn about it in school. I have been to many museums and war memorials, though, and know the general timeline of what happened.
I am awed by the fact that you experienced these events first-hand. I know that you paid dearly for your medals and experiences, as war is a terrible thing and leaves a lasting mark on everyone it touches. I think that refusing to kill someone is actually one of the braves things that you did. Going through the Siegfried line without a gun was incredibly dangerous, but it showed that you would rather put your own life at risk than put another’s life at risk. This is bravery because even though it put you in danger, and I’m sure scared you to death, you still lived by your beliefs and did what you thought was right.
I think that the position that you were in during the war was given to you by a higher power. You got to serve your country, just like you wanted, you got to help defeat the Nazis, just like you wanted, and you did not have to fire a gun. This position was obviously meant for you, and you excelled. I am very glad that this opportunity was given to you, as much of succeeding is just doing what you are best at.

Ethan Ready

Katherine K. said...

Europe Day was a fun event and was very interesting. I enjoyed trying the new food and listening to the World War two veteran.

Chris Volk said...

Dear Mr Patton
I have been interested in the topic of WWII ever since i can remember. Fascinated by every single detail that just seems to unveil an entire new story. I have always been enraptured in the family war stories I heard. The way my family tells these stories would confound me and would force me to look at this world through another perspective. I hear these stories not only from my own family but on T.V., books and other undaunted soldiers who assure safeness and freedom of this pulchritudinous country. I want to hear your story Mr. Patton. I want to apprehend how you played a role in the liberation of France, how you kept the nerves of perplexed soldiers calm through magnificent piano music. I have only heard the basics of this majestic story and I would love to comprehend it all. Thank you for fighting for our freedom, people like you are the ones who truly give the name "home of the brave"

Sarah L. said...

I went to Europe Day, and I thought it was amazing! I loved teaching other people that were there so me simple french phrases and teaching people how to play Mille Bornes. I also enjoyed the World War Two Veteran speak out about his experiences of World War Two with us. It was very inspiring to here his stories, and I was very grateful for him coming to our school. Europe Day was so fun, and I will come back next year!

Sally said...

Dear Mr. Patton,

Thank you so much for coming and telling us your WWII stories. Stories like yours are what makes our history come alive. When Madame told us you liberated the concentration camps, I became very interested. I am Jewish, and the Holocaust impacts me greatly. I have heard and read lots of stories, but getting to hear you speak about being there is even more special. Both my Grandfathers helped fight in the war, but I think your role in was more interesting and exciting. There is something so special about being an American. Although I didn’t fight in a war, I still feel like I am a part of a place that fights for the right thing. Wearing red, white, and blue is a like having a badge of honor, that I am proud to show off. But when someone who actually deserves a real badge of honor shares their stories; it brings everyone together. Hopefully when we get to hear stories like yours, we will remember to never forget the tragic events of our past.
Thank you for your service, and keeping your stories alive

----Sally L.

Katherine K. said...

Europe Day was a fun and interesting event. I enjoyed tasting the new food and listening to the World War two veteran.

Anonymous said...

Conrad M

Dear Mr.Patton,

Hello I’m Conrad McCoy, a student at Smith middle school and I have recently learned about your services during WWII in France. First let me say how much I admire your bravery to go out to war just before graduation and supporting the greater good. You truly are a hero. I understand that you went through all that war and didn’t have to kill one person but you still were able to get a Bronze Star and the French Legion of Honor, that is spectacular.

It must have been really horrible to see that concentration camp and how the conditions were I will never be able to imagine how it must have been you are brave and I respect you a ton for sticking it through. I hope that we never forget the great things you did and always remember the events of WWII so they won’t be repeated.

Best Regards,
Conrad McCoy

Katherine K. said...

Europe Day was a fun and interesting event. I enjoyed tasting the new food and listening to the World War two veteran.

Katherine K. said...

Europe Day was a fun and interesting event. I enjoyed tasting the new food and listening to the World War two veteran.

Sydney B said...

Europe Day was a major success. I loved having the crepes and croque-monsieurs available to eat and enjoy. The greek food was full of flavor and it was wonderful to try new things. The walk for unity was parfait as always and also one of my favorite parts of the night. The EU cake was beautiful and délicieux! When Robert Patton was about to speak, I was tired and falling asleep after a fun night. But when he told his riveting stories about his experience in WWII, I was wide awake. Mr. Patton speaking was my favorite part of the night. His stories were très amusant and also sad. He talked for awhile but it felt like 5 minutes! I learned so much about WWII that I never even thought about. I loved Europe Day and I hope to come visit next year when I am in high school. Thanks, Madame McMahon!

-Sydney B. 8th grade

Anonymous said...

The European Union has a holiday to honor their day of freedom, of a victorious win over the Axis powers. Why doesn’t the United States? When so many countries, so many nations, are grateful to us and the Allies for their liberation, we don’t have a celebration day for the war hundreds of thousands of soldiers died fighting for their country? Their courage and valor is something to be respected. There should be a nationwide commemoration known to all for the strong and the brave who gave their lives to serve their country.

When the Nazi’s rose, they brought the promise of strength to the Germans who were desperate. Hitler rose above all with his moving speeches; thus, giving birth to terror, murder, bloodshed, and chaos. They invaded and settled in other countries, ambition trailing from their every step. Those years were gruesome. Yet we came back. The Allies thought up a risky but brilliant scheme, and it worked. That was D-Day; June 6, 1944. On Omaha Beach in Normandy, when the Germans had occupied France. That was the day that millions of people would remember. That was the day where thousands died, fighting to drive the Germans out. That was the day when freedom had called, saying it had arrived, and it liberated France. We liberated France. France appreciated us so much; a lot of countries appreciated us. Finally, during the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans were defeated. The price was huge, but they were driven back. The war was over. The Nazis had fallen, Hitler vanquished, and there was a promise that such a murderous war wouldn’t start again.

In fact, surprisingly, there is a dedicatory holiday of some sort in the United States that does honor WWII. However, a pitiful 100% of the people I’ve interviewed have never heard of it. Just how can we let this happen? I, myself, have also never heard of a Victory Day in the U.S. A couple students were baffled that such an event existed in America. Which is an issue. For such an important event, its commemoration day is unknown, left in the shadows. Victory Day needs to be made nationwide and famous in America, it’s already nationwide in the majority of the other countries involved in WWII. As students, we know how serious the casualties were in this war. We known how disastrous it was, how shaking. Thus bringing me to my conclusion which has already been claimed above a series of times: Let everyone in our nation know and celebrate Victory Day, and let everyone learn and review the facts of WWII.

In France, flags are being raised. Patriotic songs are sung. The parades march down the streets stating “We are commemorating our troops who fought bravely and of our continent’s liberation!” loud and clear like someone stamping on a card saying “This is for you!” Their students review what they know of the war while others pay respects to their relatives. This is a day that we need.

Lauren A said...

Imagine landing in Europe 1945. Soldiers and bodies are everywhere. Children are crying and their parents are comforting but at the same time trying to hold back their own tears. All because of World War II. It was a great comfort to everyone when the war ended. The United States of America should make May 8th a national holiday, because we were a big part of ending World War 11.
The effects of World War 11 left an impact on Americans as well as Europeans. A good number or our troops helped the French and a good number of our soldiers were lost. When the war ended and the remaining soldiers returned home it was a great time for Americans. We had hope for the future.
May 8 should be a National Holiday in America because it is not only V-E Day (Victory for Europe Day) but it signifies the start of a great time for America. Europeans know a great deal about America and our holidays and politics, so we should be aware of their politics and holidays. May 8 in Europe is a day of rest from school and work. It should be the same way in America because we were their allies and we helped end the war. V-E Day shows respect for our soldiers and commemorates the end of World War II.

Anonymous said...

Europe day was so amazing! I couldnt believe that someone that was fighting for our country was in the same room as me! His stories were so touching. These stories are life chaning. Being able to go to and see where he fought we=ould be such a thrilling experience!! I would have so much fun!
Marina Lewis

Anonymous said...

I thought Europe day was such a great experience. I loved trying all of the different foods, and learning all of he interesting things about the E.U. It was very fun to help out making signs and to help teach kids French. Also what I found very interesting was the presentation that Mr. Patton gave us about WWII. It was really interesting to see what it was like from the point of view from someone who was actually there. It was very cool!

Amy Smith

Parker h said...

What I learned during the Europe Day event was how important the E.U.is to the participating European countries economy. They really keep Europe together as a continent.

John Dews said...

America needs to start commemorating and remembering WWll. many european countries commemorate May 8 every year, they call the day VE Day. On VE Day on one works, and no one goes to school. VE Day is a national holiday in many european countries, during this holiday europe thinks about america because america and Canada stepped into europe to help fight against the nazis during WWII. there would be no reason that america should not turn this important day into a national holiday; american soldiers started to come back to america on this day. thousands of soldiers died in the war, for their country. So america should not only commemorate the end of the war, but to also use that day to remember the lost lives from the war. when the troops came back from the war, most of america celebrated; why not continue to celebrate it years later.

May 8th is not only the day the war ended, but it is also the day a rain of hatred from the nazi's ended. Its also the day thousands of prisoners where freed from concentration camps, most of them who would be shortly killed or starved if the camps were not liberated. America is home to many who either where in a concentration camp or ancestors of those who were. So for just that May 8th should be considered a holiday for those people.

The only way to not repeat the past is to remember the past. If may 8th becomes a holiday people would remember WWII, so that it would not be repeated. If America were to Adopt VE-Day it would be a day of remembrance, honor, and respect to those who died.

J said...

Jay P

My favorite part of Europe Day was Mr. Robert Patton’s speech. Mr. Patton was a very interesting speaker. I learned a lot about life in the military and what it was like to be on the ground in WWII. His experiences liberating concentration camps were intriguing and jarring. His speech made me fully realize the impact and severity of the holocaust and why it should never be repeated.

I also enjoyed Ms. Erica Edwards presentation about the EU. I learned about how the EU and its policies have evolved from the creation of the EU to the present. I also learned about people like Robert Schuman who were important to the EU during its progression to where it is today.

J said...

By Jay P

My favorite part of Europe Day was Mr. Robert Patton’s speech. Mr. Patton was a very interesting speaker. I learned a lot about life in the military and what it was like to be on the ground in WWII. His experiences liberating concentration camps were intriguing and jarring. His speech made me fully realize the impact and severity of the holocaust and why it should never be repeated.

I also enjoyed Ms. Erica Edwards presentation about the EU. I learned about how the EU and its policies have evolved from the creation of the EU to the present. I also learned about people like Robert Schuman who were important to the EU during its progression to where it is today.

Anonymous said...

May 8th, 2012
Dear Mr. Patton,
I have always heard stories of WWII but I had never met a veteran. Hearing about you made me want to learn more in depth about it. Hearing about you made me think that WWII had a lot to do with me than what I thought. Hearing about you made me want to appreciate people like you, who fought in the war. And actually being able to meet a veteran that was involved in the war was incredible.
Every site that I visited to learn more about you had this following quote, “A soft spoken man with a gentle soul and kind heart, Robert Patton couldn’t imagine ever taking another human life. The thought of killing anybody friend or foe, unsettled him to his very core.” In war I couldn’t even imagine a person doing this. I always thought that people would just shoot their guns as many times as they had to, killing their enemies to win the war. I am very proud of you for being such a generous man who didn’t want to take the lives of others but, at the same time, took the risk of being killed by others. I was wondering if you ever felt like you were making much more of a difference, in a positive way, in the war by not shooting others. I think you can think of yourself in very many positive ways. You thought of war in a friendly way by not taking the chance to take anyone’s life but supporting and staying on the French side.
While I was finding more facts about you, I found out that you visited Mauthausen Concentration Camp with Maj. Richards and a captain. Just thinking and imagining what you saw there brings chills down my back. It must have been terrifying to see all of those dead bodies lying around you. Not being able to tell if they are dead or alive is also a very scary thing. It is hard to imagine what the Natzi’s did to them without anyone knowing. Yet the fact that some people thought of this as though it never happened frightened me. I believe that this happened because I have heard this from my social studies teachers and you as well, and I am very happy that you have been giving speeches in many different areas in Europe and America to make people aware of this. And that you are proud of sharing your experiences and the sight of the bodies that you saw with your very own eyes.
I want to thank you for all that you have done for our country. Without knowing and meeting you I probably would have not wanted to learn more about the war. This is the reason of why we have French people today. This is the reason that we have the opportunity to learn France’s culture, religion, and the language itself every day at Smith. This is why we have the Belgian pen pals who we get to meet because of the exchange program. Because of the big difference that you and your troops made, we all have what we have today. I want to let you know that we all appreciate you and the stories you shared with us. It is not the same to have someone that actually experienced the war talk to us, than a person who just has the knowledge of it. I will never forget what I learned and from now on I will thank what you and the other American troops did during WWII.

Sincerely,
Anonymous

Anonymous said...

The European Union

Not so long ago our world was ravaged by war. It was torn into pieces, the edges left jagged and broken. If you listened closely, you could hear the earth desperately calling for help. It could feel the pain and the suffering. People grieved for lost loved ones. Many honorable people were killed fighting for their morals, and defending those who needed it. The land itself was tortured, exploded to bits, the ground a glistening scarlet, endless tanks tearing up the soil. Constant waves of sore feet lacerated the sodden land. War is a time of pain, but it is also a time of rebirth.
After the end of the second world war, Europe was a deserted battleground. The land was destroyed and people were cautious. The European Union was founded during the aftereffects of World War II. It’s main principles are to ensure peace in Europe, as well as to promote economic progress. It has grown into a family of 27 countries, spread over all of Europe. Its common currency is the Euro and it enables open borders in Europe. The motto,“United in Diversity” which has been adopted by the European Union shows that each country celebrates the diversity of its cultures, people, and languages yet recognizes the strength of the union. Alone each country is strong, but together they can change not only Europe, but they can change the world for the better.
The European Union has touched the lives of many people in Chapel Hill. Grant monies have enabled many american students to travel to Europe through the exchange program. The exchange program provides a once in a lifetime glimpse into Belgian culture that can’t be duplicated on an ordinary tour. No other trip can compare to the voyage offered to Smith Middle School students. We get to see ancient cities that seem to be from another time. We get to taste delicious new foods and make friendships that last a lifetime. As ambassadors for the United States, we get to unite with Europe, and prove how we are truly ‘United in Diversity.’

Julianna T. 8th

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Patton,
I have so much respect for war veterans. They serve their country for the good of everyone.It is very admiring that you risked your life everyday of the war to save others.
It must have been so hard to watch your fellow army members fall. The life of a human is so fragile and to watch all of these people die in a war that is against everything humanity stands for. It is the courage of the people like you that is marked down in history. I have read the stories of you life ad I know it must have have been hard with the horrifying scenes that may never go away. I want you to know that everyone is grateful and will always be grateful for what you have done. From what you have done, the French and Belgians remain French and Belgian. You saved a whole group of people from being uprooted by the Germans from their past and ancestors.
The Holocaust was a very sad and terrifying time especially to people like you who experienced it first hand, but I want to let you know that the mark of those concentration camps will always represent the saviors who were so brave to save all those Jews, French, and Belgians. I am so thankful for what you have done and thank you so much for sharing your stories to the future generation.
You are still thought of in the minds of Americans, French, Belgians, and Jews, and it will always be that way.

Kate Sorgi said...

    May 8, 1945 was the day when Germany surrendered from the war. They call this day V.E day which means Victory Europe. While the war was over there was still lives to be rebuilt. The war left many places devastated including the cities and towns in France. The war was mainly fought on European soil which affected many lives. With the devastation came problems rebuilding people's lives and the society in general.
    Considering the war started in Europe there was bound to be more devastation in Europe than other places in the world. Over 60 million people died in Europe and many communities were completely ruined. Rebuilding was a long process in Europe compared to the United States. In the United States there was no destruction, other than the loss of loved ones in our country. Our economy remained strong throughout the war effort, this was good because unlike other countries all we had to do was have our soldiers returned to us so we could change from a wartime economy to a peace economy. If Germany had won the war France today would be considered apart of Germany, but by having Great Britain and America win the war they were able to regain their homeland. Knowing this, France had much more rebuilding to do than the United States which barely had any.
    In the United States May 8th is not recognized at all. Unlike the United States, France celebrates this as a national holiday. They celebrate this because it was the end of the Holocaust, Hitler's Nazi rule, and the occupation of Europe. On May 8th 1945 France had many parades and celebrations to remember the end of the war. America on the other hand doesn’t celebrate May 8th because it was not as meaningful to us as our land was not occupied or destroyed. The war was not fought on our soil so the end does not hold the same meaning for us as it does in France and the rest of Europe. This was the day of their liberation from the Nazi rule.
    As there was no impact on American soil the transition back from war to peace was much easier for us than for the European people. Imagine what it would be like for you to look around and realize your home was destroyed, your life was destroyed, your family was devastated, how would you rebuild your life during such a terrible time? It would be hard, and it took so many years for Europe to regain their strength and power again. Many European people reflect back to that day and are thankful for the end of the war.
-Kate Sorgi

Frances said...

It's really great that we could celebrate the EU. It's exciting to see all the excitement people get from all the decorations, events, and food. Everyone wanted to help prepare for that night to make it amazing. It's so incredible that a World War II veteran came to our small middle school to talk about his experiences. Thank you Mr. Patton! There are so many great opportunities to take in learning another language. I myself couldn't go, but I heard that it was great. Maybe next year in high school I'll come back and see how much people still care about the EU.

Merci!
~Frances

Anonymous said...

I wish that I had gotten to Europe Day, because I heard so much about it, and it sounded wonderful. Europe Day holds so much significance to everyone. I think that if anyone tries to trace their family history, they will find some family member or friend who was affected by World War 2, and the Holocaust.
We should always celebrate our friendship with Europe,and the EU. With the exchange program,and all of the great friendships that have been made, I think that it is so important to remember the times of trouble in the past, but also embrace the opportunities to make lasting friendships. Therefore, I think that it is wonderful that we celebrate Europe Day, and I think that everywhere else should follow in the same fashion.

-Anne C.

Anne McDonald said...

Dear Mr.Patton,
Last night I came to Europe Day and listened to your story of when you were in World War II and I found it very inspiring. I can't believe you were able to survive the war without killing a single person! I really respect that about you. It shows that you don't need violence to solve all of your problems. Also, you are a great storyteller! I felt as though I was right there with in the battle. I can't even imagine how much courage you had to go through all of that. Especially the Holocaust. The idea of it just breaks my heart, actually being there would shatter it. Before I saw your presentation, I never realized how many concentration camps there were. That really showed me how huge the whole program was. I can't believe there are people who try to state that it never happened. That's crazy! I'm glad that you shared your journey with me and to others to tell them that the Holocaust was real. I want to thank you for giving me such a memorable experience. I hope you keep sharing your stories!
-Anne McDonald

Anonymous said...

May 8th is a very important date in history. Back in 1945 it was the day that Hitler was finally defeated after the hell he created and it was also the day the allies declared their victory. The day that thousands of jews after years of suffering learned they were finally free. Despite the fact that this day is such a significant day in history, very few people know about it. This day should be a more remembered and known day in the U.S. and our troops should be more appreciated for all they did. There indeed is an existing holiday in memory of World War 2 known as V-Day, but very few people have ever heard of it.

Over 60 million civilians and soldiers died in WW2. These soldiers served in the war and fought to mainly for the benefit of others. These soldiers left their children and families to fight for our country. They made sacrifices that I could never make. Without their work and dedication it would be impossible for us to learn about European culture. If we didn’t have our wonderful troops and if the axis won the world today would still be a chaotic nightmare. Despite all they’ve done and contributed to this world ; their intriguing and significant stories are being lost. These are stories that deserve to be remembered and can influence us to make different choices.

It is crucial to remember the past and our history in order to succeed in the future. Being educated about world war two could possibly prevent something similar from happening again. People say history repeats itself so we need to be educated about what happened and prevent it from happening again. We are in charge of our future. If the new young generation is educated about wars, genocides, and their bad outcomes. If we know about generalizations and the unpleasant consequences of false ones. Then it will be less likely for such a bloody situation to occur again. If we had a well known holiday it would help raise awareness to such things.

Lastly May 8th is a day to celebrate victory! After years of fighting victory is a big deal. It is definitely something to celebrate.

May 8th in France is already a well known and celebrated day in france, why not follow the lead and make May 8th a holiday in the US as well? Making May 8th a eminent holiday would raise awareness honor those who served and celebrate the victory.

-Rebecca Z.

Anonymous said...

To: The European Union Delegation

I would like to thank the EU Delegation for their work. I believe that the European Union is essential to the world because the EU is the most important evolution in European history since World War 2. Nothing else has had such a broad, deep, and lasting effect on the lives of Europeans. They have formed reconciliation between its countries and created lasting peace in Europe.
The Union has maintained to keep itself as a region of freedom, security and justice. They have continued to promote economical and social advancements.
Most importantly they have showed the world that peace is possible and we CAN work together. The EU moto “ United in Diversity” shows how the Europeans have come together and set aside their differences to work together for peace and prosperity. The establishment has united Europeans, and has helped the younger generation appreciate their neighbours more than ever now. This delegation has impacted people around the world. They have showed the world the value of freedom, democracy and rule of law. Our school has received 3 grant from the EU. This grant has opened a world of possibilities for these students. They were able to experience the world in a totally different way during their trip. It’s amazing how the European Union has changed the lives of students in another corner of the world. The grant has given these students an opportunity which may have not have been possible otherwise.
History has shown that the European Union has impacted the way the world views many topics including trade, environment, and the law.
In 1950 Robert Schuman declared that a united Europe is essential to world peace. Hence, Europe has come out from a continent torn by war and disagreement into a union of countries. These 27 countries have come to together seeking unity, democracy and prosperity. Because of the EU work old tyrannies have fallen and new democracies have emerged stronger than ever. I appreciate the crucial role the EU plays around the world, for a more peaceful world. Once again thank you!
- Rachel T

Anonymous said...

Dear EU
Bonjour. Thank you for giving us the grants tor the Belgian exchange. It has let kids and teachers experience a different lifestyle then their everyday life. It also lets the students see their pen pals which they have been talking to. The kids get to see what other people do in France and get the experience they would never have unless the EU would have given the grants. I hope that next year when I travel I will get to taste the food that everyone says is so good, I will get to meet my pen pal and be able to talk to him in French, and I want to see how France is the same or different to America. Also, I have seen so many wonderful pictures and I want to be able to see them with my own eyes. I want to go the beaches of Normandy and see where my country fought with the French in WWII, and the hardships they had to face on the beaches.
I also want to see how the schools are in France, because I heard the school has three or four levels. (I would get lost in a school that big.) How do they get there classes in time? Do they have more time in-between classes? I hope that when I come back from France next year all my questions will be answered. I have bin studying French at home and at school and I hope that all that work will pay off in France so I don’t get lost in the park or I can’t pay because I don’t know numbers or I mispronounce a word and it means something totally different, it is exhilarating and scary at the same time. At least I have a great teacher to help me out on the trip. Au revoir.

Nicholas M

Julia G. said...

Dear Mr. Patton,
They say that World War II has ended, but I'm sure that it has not ended in some peoples' minds: World War II lives on in the current society, through little reminders; whether it be the memorials, graveyards, or commemoration days, little pieces of the war are still around.
Smith Middle School and I thank you for sharing one of those pieces with our school community. It was a unique experience that cannot be found so easily anymore; an account by a soldier in the war about what really happened. All of us really appreciate what you have dome in the war, and honor both the veterans like you and those who gave their lives for their country.
Again, thank you so much for coming to Smith Middle School. I'm sure everyone learned a lot about that war. We really appreciate everything you've done for our nation!
-Julia G.

Anonymous said...

I thought the euro-Day event was exceptional. It gave me an experience to try new things, or play new games that i would have never done before. It gave me a glimpse at what my Belgian pen-pal's life was like, and what she does. It just made me even more excited for the Belgian Exchange Trip that I would like to participate in this Spring Break (this is funded by the E.U. with their very-much appreciated grants). I felt extremely lucky to be able to participate in such a exciting and uniting event! I learned about French (and Greek) culture, and lots about the beaches of Normandy from the wonderful guest speaker, Mr.Patton, who spoke to us. I tried eating new foods such as crepes, or croque-monsieurs, and playing new games such as Mille Bornes! To continue on with our exciting night, we strutted down the halls of Smith causing ruckus and staying proud and loud for our support for unity! Holding colorful signs about the E.U. and U.S. (Which are now displayed on our classroom wall),we marched down the halls to the beat of a drum and showed everyone just how much we cared.
-Leigh Sharpless

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Patton,
I thank you for devoting your time to tell us about your ww2 experiences. I have read articles about you and they described you as a "gentle man with a kind soul" which are traits to be admired. I genuinely admire your courage and determination on your behalf in the battle of the bulge and your assault on the Siegfried line. I have found that we have a few things in common as well, for one being that we don't like violence and two we both love music. Then again I thank you for coming to smith to share your knowledge with us.
Sincerely,
Andrew

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Patton,
I thank you for devoting your time to tell us about your ww2 experiences. I have read articles about you and they described you as a "gentle man with a kind soul" which are traits to be admired. I genuinely admire your courage and determination on your behalf in the battle of the bulge and your assault on the Siegfried line. I have found that we have a few things in common as well, for one being that we don't like violence and two we both love music. Then again I thank you for coming to smith to share your knowledge with us.
Sincerely,
Andrew

Anonymous said...

Angela C.
Bonjour! I felt like Europe Day was a fantastic and educational experience. I didn't stay for Mr. Patton's speech, but i heard it was very inspiring and I feel lucky that our school got to host a World War II veteran. There was a lot of great food and I really enjoyed the song that one of the students here wrote and another performed it. There was also great booths that taught people about the EU and Europe. I wish we could get to do this again next year.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear Mr. Robert Patton,
I've read a lot of great articles about you. I would like to say that I am grateful that you're taking your time to come to our "Europe Day" to educate us about our history. I think it's inspiring that you refused to take another humans life. You were extremely brave for serving our country. I have learned about WWII and the Holocaust in Social Studies last year in sixth grade, but I think it would be better if I heard the perspective from a World War II veteran. I've got to say there are not a lot of people that are as brave as you. It's really interesting that you received a Bronze star along with France's Legion of Honor Medal, you definitely deserved it!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Patton,Thank you for coming to our school to let us hear your fascinating stories. All of us here could not thank you enough for your service for your service and your bravery on the battlefield. You fought so we don't have to. I am very grateful for that, for I know I could never had represented our country like you did. Your actions changed lives. The people who you served with are truly lucky. Anyone in America is lucky that we had a great man like you fighting for us. You are gentle, kind, and loving. You showed everyone that you do not have to kill anyone to be remembered. Instead your heroic actions will be forever remembered. You are a true hero.You saved hundreds of lives. Men like you are a once in a lifetime find. Jackson P.

Anonymous said...

From the sign making to the croque-monsieur, Europe Day was truly fascinating. It was not only fun, but also educationally beneficial. There was a great variety of different foods and games that I had never eaten or played before. Although the weather did not agree with us, the Walk for Unity was still great. Making all those signs that represented unity was full of amusement.

Mr. Patton's speech was truly amazing, and I could not believe some of the things I heard. Unfortunately, I could not stay for the whole speech; but it felt like the words that came out of his mouth reached out, and gave me a new perspective of the world. His words touched me, and his stories moved me. I heard what life was like in World War II, and it felt like I was in that time period. Every detail that he described sounded so real and so vivid, and he helped me realize how big the impact of World War II was.

My favorite part was the Walk for Unity, because I felt good seeing the signs that we made being waved around to signify unity.

The croque-monsieur was really good, and I will definitely be looking for a recipe of it so my mother can make it!

Claire Y

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Patton,
Words cannot describe how amazing you are. You showed people violence is not the solution to any conflict. So thank you, for your effort in the war.
I would also like to thank you for coming to our school. It is a true honor. What you are doing is a tremendously great thing. I look forward to your stories, I am sure they will be informative and entertaining.
William R.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Patton,
Sixty seven years is a life time, yet the events that had happened generations ago are still fresh in many peoples' minds. To my generation, the destruction and loss that reigned in our world during the 1900's seem unfathomable, sometimes reduced to just another lecture in social studies despite the scores of resources we are provided with in this Age of Information. By reading through a chapter from a textbook, we are only taking a glimpse at the large picture. It's different from living during a World War and watching the events unfold before your eyes. We can never relive the fateful day when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor or be there to witness the prisoners laughing and crying as they are released from the concentration camps. Therefore, all of us here from Smith Middle School appreciate you visiting us to tell, firsthand, your experiences.
Of the estimated 60 million casualties, 6 million of them were lost in the mass genocide known as the Holocaust (This statistic was derived from Wikipedia- the six million goes only for the Jewish folk that succumbed). Then why are there people out there denying the suffering of so many people? They cannot see what you have back in Mauthausen or Orhdruf. I cannot see. But I will try to, and maybe pass the story on ti the next generations.
War, why war? War so that you can control a fraction of this hunk of space rock we call Earth-- and for a measly amount of years that seem feeble compared to the existence of our Universe,- or the Earth itself, even? Is the bloodshed worth it?
Out of all of the schools that you have been to, Mr. Patton, I hope you found ours to be inviting and respectful. I look forwards to listening to you tonight, and maybe one day repeat the same words to the next generation.
Thank you.
Sincerely,
Dian Niu

Jessi said...

May 8th:
I think everyone should celebrate the end of World War 2, not just Europe. It affected all of us, including America. We celebrate Veteran's day, Presidents' Day, and the 4th of July. So why don't we even acknowledge May 8th? I know schools in France have the day off, and the U.S. hardly even mentions it. Many people don't know the significance of May 8th, and I think this should change.

The question comes for how to celebrate it. I don't think students should have the day off from school. That doesn't accomplish anything. All people will do is think of May 8th as a just a day off. I think they should have a May 8th day at school. One day dedicated to learning about WW2. Everyone should be informed about this event. There's a reason we learn history in school.

Since May 8th was a wonderful day almost 70 years ago, it's important to celebrate it now. World War 2 is not something to be taken lightly. Like any war, it was a terrible event that we're lucky we didn't experience. I think we should remember this day for soldiers killed, their families, and anyone else affected in this war. Starting traditions is hard, but keeping them is worth the struggle. Even keeping the day on your mind counts. It's better than nothing. it's time to celebrate events that are not just important to certain groups and religions, but to everyone.

-Jessi S

Jessi said...

May 8th:
I think everyone should celebrate the end of World War 2, not just Europe. It affected all of us, including America. We celebrate Veteran's day, Presidents' Day, and the 4th of July. So why don't we even acknowledge May 8th? I know schools in France have the day off, and the U.S. hardly even mentions it. Many people don't know the significance of May 8th, and I think this should change.

The question comes for how to celebrate it. I don't think students should have the day off from school. That doesn't accomplish anything. All people will do is think of May 8th as a just a day off. I think they should have a May 8th day at school. One day dedicated to learning about WW2. Everyone should be informed about this event. There's a reason we learn history in school.

Since May 8th was a wonderful day almost 70 years ago, it's important to celebrate it now. World War 2 is not something to be taken lightly. Like any war, it was a terrible event that we're lucky we didn't experience. I think we should remember this day for soldiers killed, their families, and anyone else affected in this war. Starting traditions is hard, but keeping them is worth the struggle. Even keeping the day on your mind counts. It's better than nothing. it's time to celebrate events that are not just important to certain groups and religions, but to everyone.

-Jessi S

Jinny Gui said...

When I read the articles about Mr. Patton, I was very interested. Although Mr. Patton was put into WWII he didn't kill anyone or shoot anything. That is really amazing at how he did that.

Angela B. said...

A letter to Mr. Patton:

Dear Mr. Patton,

Where can I even start? You seem to be such and amazing man, kind and gentle. I guess I should say you were a brave warrior fighting for the U.S. in World War 2, but not wanting to kill another with his bare hands and with those deadly arms (like machine guns) that was a new level for me. Usually when people are in the war, they think, "I must take care of my country and others with honor!". And other people might think. "Oh my Lord, what if I die?!?! What is my family going to think? Will I die in the first minute?!?" They over think things and start feeling pressure, saving a billions of people they don't know. You, you stayed cool, did whatever you could and managed to stay through with everything. During these times in the war, I understand that the Great Depression, had still affected you men in the war (with having not a lot of food and going on about on your own). Also managing at the age of 21? After your college days, you suggested to join the war, when your father told you to. You fought with honor doing many amazing things others possibly couldn't do. Back to the Great Depression, I really love how you survived during those times, and I was told you played the piano as well, your music broadcasted over the war fields. It seems so nice...I am really grateful writing this letter to you. I have learned so much in so little time. I'm sort of a history fanatic so this is a great honor! :)

Gabriel C said...

Dear Mr. Patton,

This year I have learned so much about world war two that I found surprising and interesting. I really enjoy listening to world war two stories and thinking if that had happened in my time. When Madame told us a war vet was coming here whole class was so excited! I class we read part if your story and we all were talking about how brave someone would have to be to fight in another country with no communication to home. it takes a lot of courage to fight in the war while trying not to take another persons life. We all heard about you playing the piano when times were tough. We all think it was a really good idea and we know it lifted the solders spirits. I know it helped. I want to thank you for protecting ours other peoples country. If there weren't soldiers
like you then we might still be fighting a war.
Thank you,
Gabriel C

Karthik K said...

This is my May 9th essay

May 9th
I believe that May 9th should be considered as a federal holiday in the U.S. This is because May 9th commemorates the end of World War 2. Many Americans lost their live in those years of war, and fighting. The allies won on that day, 67 years ago. That is why we should take the time to remember that day.

The U.S played an important part in the later part of the war. After the bombing on Pearl Harbor, it became an issue of national security to get involved in the war. From D-day, the allies liberated France, city by city on the way to Paris. In the march to Germany, the allies discovered the horrible parts of the holocaust that had taken place under Hitler. They put a stop to Hitler and his terrible leadership on May 9th.

Americans that have served in World War 2 have been dying of old age and other factors. Everyday more stories of that time period are disappearing in this country. It is time to take it in our own hands, and make May 9th a holiday before all of those stories are gone forever. That way we will keep those tragic memories in our hearts, and remember the terrific victory on May 9th.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Patton,
I wanted to say thank you for all the things you have done for everybody. If it weren't for you, or the other soldiers, the world will not have been what it is today-amazing. It's truly a miracle that you joined the military even when you were scared of taking a life. When other people joined the military, they were probably scared and nervous, knowing that what they were about to do would be dangerous. But you probably had more to worry about, and under all those emotions; you were strong and determined to do what it took to help our world.
You fought, but not how other soldiers fought. You fought in your own way without ever taking a person's life. You still fought when the other soldiers doubted you. You didn't let that drag you down and instead you kept on fighting. Let me tell you that a person who never gives up is a person who should be well respected and admired by everyone. A person who risks his life and puts the world first is a person who should stay in everybody's heart and should never be forgotten.
Our world has suffered and received many injuries but never once has it not face the treat face to face. Never once has it cringed from war. Thank you Mr. Patton and all of the other soldiers for helping our world.

Allene X

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Patton,

I want to tell you how much I appreciate your help fighting in WWII. You are so courageous and you fighting for our country means a lot to me.
I think that some of your experiences fighting in the war was interesting for me to read. It is interesting how when you were fighting in the war, you didn't want to shoot anyone or anything and you never did! That is truly amazing. You were an amazing man and deserved to earn the medals and other honorable things you got. You are awesome!
It is also interesting how you were a pianist and how you could type fast. Was it fun? Thank you very much for coming to our school and telling us about your experiences. Thank you for your service, you are an amazing man!
Sincerely,

Annie H.

Marija C. said...

Dear Mr.Patton,
I have heard all about you from my french teacher and all the fascinating articles written about you and your adventures! I love hearing about world war two stories. They have always interested me and I can't wait to hear you speak.
You and every other soldier who volunteered to fight in world war two are so brave. To me it means a lot, that you were willing to put your self at risk to protect our country. You have gotten Frances legion of honor you were on the front lines liberating Europe, but still you never killed one person. That is a very honorable thing to do and I hope if I am ever put in a situation like that I would do the same.
I was wondering if you still keep up with some of the men you fought with over in Europe? Or if you have ever talked with one of the Holocaust survivors, the ones you liberated?
Thank you for coming to my school to tell us your stories and keeping the tales of world war two alive. After reading about you, you inspired me to be a better person. Again THANK YOU for everything!

Anonymous said...

Dear EU’
I am extremely exited about (maybe) travling next year, though to travel I would almost definantly need finantial aid. So with the best intentions I ask you to consider giving us another grant.
Just one month ago I hoasted a Belgian student named Severine. It was the best, she loved coming to America. She also loved peanut butter, in Begium ( I was shocked) they don’t have peanut butter. The part I was most surprised about was was that she wasn’t the only one expieriancing a new culture, I was to. She tought me about Belgium and the EU. This made me think, if I could learn so much here, imagine what I could learn in Belgium!
Thos grant would not only allow me to travel, but countless other students as well. It seems inane “c’est pas juste”, that just because you come from a low income family that you be excluded from travling. In a perfect world we could go anywhere. Sadly the world isn’t perfect. We only get to travel once ot twice (usually) to new places. You, at the EU could make the world a little closer to perfection, by giving us another grant. This grant would allow me to see Severine again (who refused to get on the plane without promising I would). I intend to keep my promise, and when I do, I’m bringing peanut butter.

Myles House

Anjali V. said...

May 8, 1945. One of the happiest moments in 20th century history. Some heard it on the radio, some by word of mouth. It didn't matter how you heard it, all that mattered was the news itself. World War II had ended. After 6 years of bloodshed, family members being drafted overseas to fight on the front lines, it was all over.
Although the U.S. was involved in the war greatly, because of D-Day, the liberation of Paris, and liberating some concentration camps, the end of the war is still not celebrated here. Few Americans even know much about the war, other than some basic facts. It is understandable that the war did not have as many effects on the home front (in America) as it did in Europe, where you can still see bomb craters on the fields on Normandy, the ex-concentration camps in places like Auschwitz (also the most notorious one), Mauthausen, and Bergen-Belsen to name a few. However, because the U.S. was a big part of the war effort, May 8th should be made a national holiday. It is almost shameful that very few people know the infamous date, while in Europe it is commemorated and honored. Some Americans may even have had relatives or ancestors who fought in the war, and would support the idea of there at least being a day dedicated to the people who lost their lives in WWII. They may not have been soldiers- they could have been Holocaust victims, victims of air raids, the atom bomb victims, etc.
The E.U. has done a lot for our school for us to get a better look at World War II. For three consecutive years, Smith Middle School has been given the "Getting To Know Europe" grant. This grant has helped pay for a trip to not only Paris and Liege, but also Normandy. Normandy was the site of the D-Day invasion, and also a very good place to really learn about the effects of WWII. In addition, the E.U. formed after World War II because they did not want another example of what Hitler had done, or for one country to gain too much power over the others. The E.U. promotes unity and diversity, to factors that when they lacked, was essentially the cause of World War II.
In conclusion, the 8th of May should be made a national holiday because many Americans are completely unaware of the effects of World War II. Also, the E.U. has done a lot not only for our school, but also for our country by awarding grants to many schools so that they can travel to Europe. Because little to none of the fighting occurred in America, it is very easy for Americans to mark World War II as non-existent, when in fact it was probably one of the most devastating wars in history. Whatever happens, no matter how much time passes, World War II must not be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Europe day was really fun! The crepes, cake, stands/ booths, etc. Thank you Mr. Patton for coming that day and I apologize for the delay of showing my appreciation!

Katie Huang

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Patton,
As a Conservative Jewish girl living in 21st century America, it is hard to remember my family and my ancestry, rooting to the highly populated Jewish areas in Poland and Russia. This American life is hard to lead, while still keeping alive the traditions of my grandparents, great-grandparents, and ancestors. But one thing, I’ll always carry with me, as a Jewish girl, is the Holocaust.
As a young girl born in California and living for a year in Israel, my heritage was quickly demonstrated to me as I had regular visits with my grandfather, a Jewish American soldier stationed in Germany. I grew up to the stories of chess with his men, playing cards, German rum, and the battle stories that were some of his dearest memories. I grew up hungry for information on my heritage, reading any book I could find that were even remotely age-appropriate for me- Night, by Elie Weisel, The Diary of Anne Frank, and multiple fiction stories that retold the story of past generations. I learned of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald, and the awful, awful events that happened there and that killed over 6 million of my people. On my fifth grade Washington DC field trip, I begged my father to let me visit the one museum I was interested in- the Holocaust Museum. Concerned that I was too young for the whole shebang, my father led me into the small children’s exhibit that was aimed for kids my age- but it wasn’t enough. We ran a quick tour through the entire museum, and I saw things that have scarred me for life.
My thirst for this knowledge hasn’t been quenched- simply, restrained. When I heard of you coming to talk to Smith Middle, I was so excited- unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it. However, researching you, and your accomplishments, and of your lifetime has made me truly awed at your willingness to inform people of this terrible event. I would like to thank you, personally, for all of the things you’ve done to make this world a better place to live, especially as a young Jewish girl. Your feats are truly amazing, and from the bottom of my heart, my deepest thanks, I would like to say thank you.
Davida Halev

Anonymous said...

Dear, EU
My name is Garrett, and i go to smith middle school and i'm in the 8thy grade. I am in McMahon's french class. I would like to thank you for granting the opportunity for every one to be able to go to Europe, and expand there understanding and world diversity.

Matt S. said...

Why The US Should Celebrate the End of WWII in Europe, or VE Day

World War II was an event that shaped America forever. This wasn’t just a war between two countries that were feuding, this was a war that the whole world was involved in one way or another. America had a huge presence in the war which makes it strange that we don’t have a holiday marking this huge conflict. May 8th is the day that marks the ending of World War II. This was the biggest military conflict that the world has ever experienced. Most of Europe celebrates this day to express world peace, and how we are a stronger world because of the terrible events that occurred during these war years. the US was one biggest armies in the war with over 16 million troops being deployed in the Pacific but also in Europe. Which makes it strange that we don’t have a holiday marking the end of Natzi Germany. This was a time when America pulled together as one and worked together to achieve the common goal of ending this terrible war. But it didn’t just pull America closer, it brought the whole world closer.
During this time we weren’t fighting one war like most of Europe but we were fighting two. When the war in Europe finally ended America as a nation breathed a sigh of relief. This was a huge turning point in both parts of the war because it sent a message that the war was losing it’s evil steam. We should celebrate this important day in world history by just getting the message out about how this day changed all of our lives. We kind of take it for granted that we won the war now without even remembering our lost brothers. What would our lives be like if we didn’t win? That is something we need to think about. I feel like if we celebrated this marking in history then our posterity will have a much better understanding and appreciation for what many of our ancestors sacrificed during this awful time in history.
Some people feel like the part of the war in Europe was of no concern to us and we only were involved in the Pacific against the Japanese. But many more boots were on the soil in Europe and making us major factors in the Ally’s victory over the Axis. We need to think about the whole world uniting on this day to show that we are better and stronger as a whole world, proving the fact that friendship is so much better than selfishness.

Chandler Sloan said...

Chandler Sloan

Dear European Union,
My name is Chandler Sloan. I am an eighth grader at Smith Middle School. I live in Chapel hill, North Carolina, USA. Over the course of six years, you have given our school three grants to help provide students with the opportuninty to travel to Europe, as part of the "Getting to Know Europe" project. I am a second year French student, and I would like to talk about the impact that traveling abroad has had on our students.
It is my belief that in order to truly learn and understand another's culture, you have to go there and experience it for yourself. Spending all of your time confined in a classroom, face planted in a French textbook will never even compare to real world experience. By going to France and putting yourself out there, you show that you actually care about the culture and want to further your knowledge about them. Studying and reading from textbooks isn't a bad thing, but those who are dedicated and put their abilites to the test will be always be successful in any venture, especially learning a language. That is what the "Getting to Know Europe" project is about. The memories you share with your friends, as well as the new friends you may make along the way are priceless.
Take the tour of Normandy, for example. Walking the beaches of Normandy and visiting the graves of the thousands of soldiers helped the students reflect on the events of WWII, and the sacrifices the soldiers made to protect the livelihoods of a nation. Afterwards, the students met up with their penpals. Later, when the students have to leave, they go knowing they have forged connections deeper than just exchanging letters and emails. Traveling to France, meeting new people, and learning about the culture is the best method for learning French. To summarize, you can spend years tearing through textbooks and doing busywork, but by actually going there and experiencing all that France has to offer, you will learn way more than you could ever hope to in a classroom setting. I'm writing you this letter to show my appreciation to the European Union for giving the students at our school an opportunity to travel to another country, break down the language barrier and make connections.
Sincerely,
Chandler Sloan

Anonymous said...

Why May 8th should be a holiday?
By: Emma Garval
Tuesday May 8th-- a normal day at Smith Middle School. Everyone is walking through the hallway and chatting with their friends, not realizing that today marks one of the most important anniversaries in history. The anniversary of the end of one of the bloodiest, largest wars in history. It marks the end of World War II. All over Europe, people are out of school and work, spending the day remembering the horrific things that happened, and celebrating the victory. How about the United States? No one is celebrating, most people do not even know it is a holiday. However, 418, 500 Americans died in World War II, and we played a major role in helping to end the war. May 8th should be a holiday celebrated in the U.S., and all over the world.
One of the main reasons May 8th should be a holiday, is to commemorate and show our respect to the more than 60 million people that died during the war and holocaust. Some people choose to try to forget about the past, but 60 million people cannot just be “forgotten.” While we cannot spend all of our time worrying about the past, one day should be devoted solely to remembering and honoring the people who lost their lives.
Another important thing about May 8th is that it is a day that marks peace and unity. The first half of the 20th century was a time of much conflict for Europe, but the end of WWII represented a new time of peace. Thirteen years later the European Union was formed, which created even more peace and unity throughout Europe. May 8th is also a good day for the U.S. and other countries to rethink their current conflicts, so that WWII never happens again. Some people think that an event as large as WWII could never happen again. However if people stop talking about it and commemorating it, it will eventually fade away, like a distant blurry memory. Then people would forget all the death and the bloodshed, and let the horrific events happen again.
Although the U.S., does not have the physical battle fields, and trenches like Europe does, we should still be celebrating May 8th as the anniversary of World War Two. The U.S. does not have the physical scars of the war like europe, but emotional scars are buried deep in the hearts of many Americans. In order to keep these memories vivid, one day of the year should be devoted solely remembering these events of the past.

Lucie A. said...

Dear Mr. Patton,
I have heard many stories about WWII and have learned a great deal on it in school. Although i was not yet alive when WWII was going on, I know that for many people it was the hardest time in their lives.
Many people fought, and many lives were lost. I applaud you for being a brave individual and for fighting for what was right. In french class, the past few weeks, we have been studying WWII, and just how important it was and still is to our history. Its part of our past and by you telling you personal stories of what you saw, it is helping people realize the Importance of WWII.
Although, I was not able to be there when you spoke at our school, I have heard how moving it was to listen to. We all greatly appreciate the work you did in europe, liberating concentration camps and we are so great-ful that you were able to share it with us. Thank you so much!

Holly said...

Dear Mr. Patton,

I just wanted to say thank you so much for your service. I really appreciate it! Fighting in WWII for our country really means a lot to me. i think that it is interesting how you fought on the front lines and never shot anybody. I'm just curious, but when you went to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, was it as bad as people said it was? You are a very brave man and I know that many people would never be able to do what you did! I hope you're doing good! I just wanted to say again thank you so much for your service. You are a truly amazing man!

Sincerely,
Holly Bezdany

Blake E. said...

Before I transitioned into being a student here at Smith Middle School, to be honest, I had never heard about the European Union. During my first year at Smith Middle I was in 6th grade and 11 years old. I began taking French that year. Immediately when I walked into the French classroom, I saw it was decorated with a variety of E.U. flags and posters. Of course it is a class of the French language, but it is so much more.
Our teacher Ms.Mcmahon makes sure to incorporate lessons about the European Union. We learn about the different cultures of E.U. countries, and even keep up to date on their economic situations. We also have pen pals set up within France and Belgium. We use the language and knowledge we have about those countries to make a bond with people overseas. I think that's pretty amazing. In my third year of being in this French class, I can fill page upon page with my knowledge of the E.U. As a matter of fact, last Wednesday was Europe day at our school! Our teacher wants to make sure that all the students in the school get to learn about the system. And if you've had Ms.Mcmahon, you know something by heart; United in Diversity.
And this coming spring, Ms.Mcmahon is wanting to take about 30 students over to Europe, France and Belgium to be exact, so they can practice everything they've been preparing for, for so long. It's an amazing trip that Ms.Mcmahon is coordinating, but unfortunately not everyone can pay for it. I hope you will consider donating the "Getting to know Europe grant" to Smith Middle School, because that is what could open so many doors for teachers and students. It's one thing having a dialogue project with a partner, and it’s something completely different to be staying in Belgium with your pen pal and their family. I hope you will consider this.
`
Thank you so much for reading this,
Blake Ethridge

Haley E said...

Dear Mr. Patton,
My school was lucky enough to have a chance to hear one of the last veterans of WWII to speak in our auditorium, thanks to you.
In my french classroom, I have learned about the war and how it affected us as Americans. I have also learned about the EU and how much they respect us today, from putting up American flags to show respect in different places around Europe, and how they appreciate us helping them in WWII. I also have learned how me like you went to war at only 20, 21, or 22 years old. The effects it had on people serving will not only scar you forever, but it might also leave you wondering if this will happen again.
We were excited for you to come ad talk to us about our experiences and interactions with the Germans in WWII. We will remember your words for a long time.
I have also been in the know that you are a kind gentle man, and how it was hard to try and kill anybody. I have researched that you didn't kill, and I would've done the same. IF the US didn't raid Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, the USA probably would've gotten bombed by Adolf Hitler's orders.
My great grandfather was a captain of one of the ships that went to Japan to help raid. He was a great leader, which makes me know that you were too.
Thank you so much for your bravery and effort to help save our country from historical disaster, and Europe's too.
I hoped you enjoy teaching us about your experience of being a soldier in World War II.

From Haley E

Anonymous said...

Europe day was cool because patterson gave a speech about ww2. Also I had tasted food I never had nefore. Celebrating Europe day is improtant because it tells the European Union how thankful we are for htem donating money so we can go do the belguim Exchange Programe

-Clayton W.

Anonymous said...

geoffrey gerdau
The un was founded November 11, 1993 to prevent war and unite Europe together, however it has united many more countries than European countries for the last 3 years the eu has been funding smith middle school students to travel to France and Belgium. The eu has made it much easier to travel between borders in Europe exchange cash in Europe. The euro, has 12 European Union nations using it-Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, and Finland, the euro has become part of the daily life for more than 300 million. One of the best part of traveling in the eu is that the unity they have their requires for you not to exchange different currencies thus making traveling simple and easy for those in the eu.

Liam L. said...

Thank you so much, Mr. Patton. It's amazing to think about how you were a part of such a monumentous event in, not only national, but also global history. It's very important for us in the US to recognize the bravery of our soldiers, and other country's soldiers, in WWII. It is also important to remember how much countries in Europe were affected by WWII, not only physically, but also in every person's memories. In the US, where we were never bombed or attacked save once, and it is often lost on us the gigantic scale of devastation in Europe. I wish everybody could hear Mr. Patton's story.

Anonymous said...

Alberto Franco
May 8th Essay

I think that May 8th is an important date internationally and should be celebrated in the United States of America because we took part in helping to end World War II, which is what is being celebrated on May 8th. The French and Belgian people, especially the older generation, are very thankful to us Americans who helped them keep their nationality, so that to this day they speak French and Belgian. This holiday is celebrated in many European countries including the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Denmark, France etc. It is also celebrated in Russia who at the moment of WWII were known as the Soviet Union and were part of the Allied forces who helped defeat the Nazis. In Europe this holiday is also known as V-E day which stands for Victory-in-Europe and in some European countries this holiday is celebrated on May 9th because that was the time at Russia since it is to the east of Germany. When news got to the United States that Germany had formally surrendered, massive celebrations took place all over the country, the biggest celebrations were in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and the biggest was in New York City's Times Square. If we celebrated on that day back then, why don’t we celebrate and commemorate May 8th as a national holiday here now? Harry Truman, who was president at the moment dedicated the victory to president Franklin D. Roosevelt who had only died less than a month preceding the triumph over Germany from a cerebral hemorrhage and had done everything to accomplish the end of WWII with the Allies as victors. If our president and the people of the United States were so happy about the victory then I think that we should celebrate it. The day is a symbol of what our country represents, Freedom. Of course people were liberated of different power-hungry countries but got their freedom back nonetheless. This day truly deserves to be made a holiday in the United States.

Nikki T. said...

To whoever this may concern;

For a while now, you’ve supported the Smith-Belgium Exchange Program at our school, Smith Middle. By supporting this program, you’ve given many students the opportunity to experience the culture within a different country. You’ve given students an opportunity that many other students at different school couldn’t even imagine; mostly since our school is one of the only middle schools that actually provide experiences like this. Not that we’re bragging, it’s actually something our school should take pride in. They put forth their best effort so we, the students, can have a large involvement globally.
These exchange trips can change the perspective of the students when faced with certain situations. Whether the resolution they have observed while away, is the best solution, isn’t always true. But it’s given them a different way of looking at things. Overtime, one goal that is shared amongst millions of people, is connecting. Is for all people to be treated equally, with respect and individuality. For the kids of today and the people of tomorrow, experiences like these are what we need in this world. For the people of tomorrow to freely connected with someone that shares many differences from you, but still shares the same interests as well.
I think that this should be reason enough as to why you should continue on with the grants to Smith Middle School. As a student of Smith, and a student of Madame Mcmahon’s French class, this exchange was something I never expected to get, until my late twenties maybe? So it’s pretty nerve-racking to think that I have been given this opportunity, whether I choose to accept or not, the offer itself amazes me. And although I choose not to attend the trip next year, I still look forward for another chance to broaden my horizons.

-Nikki T.
3rd Period
French IB

Harrison said...

Harrison Young-
When I heard Mr. Patton tell his story in our school, it was actually the most amazing thing I've ever heard. I have been into history for my whole life. It has been one of my favorite subjects my whole life.
When my father spoke french in college he started teaching me the history of it more the he would the actual language because he loved history as well as me. He taught all about World War Two. He told me about all the Americans that fought against the Nazi's and conquered them in the mid 1940's.
After that he taught me of the Jewish civilians who were enslaved in camps and killed for no reason and how much infamy it had.
I was amazed at such horrible acts against Jews.
When I heard Mr. Patton's story I found that he was a true war hero by being one of the first who liberated the Jewish camps.
I was especially struck by an act of heroics when I heard he had not killed a single man on the battlefields because it shows so much compassion to me and our nation and every country involved in the war.
I realized meeting him would be better than meeting any known actor or sports professional because he is a true role model, because his stories keep history alive and tell people that there are real heroes still out there.
I would bet that there has not been a single person that Mr. Patton has told his story to that have not been touched for their whole lives by it.
I am thankful that a manlike him has given so much to our country and our lives would not be the same without him and a letter is not enough to tell this man thank you.

Emer's reflection following the European Exchange Experience

“Tonight for dinner food is…..” Oh great, I thought. Where’s my dictionary? So, what was it again? Ah yes, a word beginning with “c”. I’m not even going to attempt asking the spelling, so I’ll just browse the “c” section for a meat of some sort. Ok, so it’s not there, I’ll guess. Lamb? No. Beef, YES!!! Ok, but isn’t beef- boeuf? Well at least I have some idea of what I’m eating…some. Oh, the joys of living with a family in a different language. Sure, it’s hard and darn confusing, but isn’t that the point? It’s meant to be a challenge, you know? It’s meant to make you take a step back, and think before you say something, which will most likely be the wrong thing. Sometimes, I wish things would stay like that. Not knowing much of each others language and constantly learning. I got such a thrill from hearing them I never wanted to stop listening and talking. Mistakes? Always, but never a problem. One night, I told the brother I went to bed at 6 (pm) instead of I slept for 6 hours. Oops! It’s inevitable, but they come and go like clouds, and you just laugh and move on. It puts half the fun in conversing. One of the main lessons I learnt on this trip is to take life slowly. We can’t always, speak, or type, or do things as fast as we (Americans) do. You’re learning a new culture, and if you go too fast, you’ll miss the small things that matter along the way, like the first time you think in French. Man, that’s amusing! March 25th, my host family drove me to the train station. Let me tell you, in that car ride, I found a new meaning to “Never say goodbye”. All I could say was “PLEASE visit me in America, you’re always welcome” and “I’ll miss you a lot!!!” of course there was a ton of Franglais in there. Well, it’s the thought that counts! As the train pulled out of the station, me, Helena and like half of the American and Belgian students started crying- like sobbing crying. When that happens, you know that bonds have been made, and connections tied up. These are people- friends that we would never ever forget. We came across the big pond to learn about Europe, oh but we learnt and gained so much more. I for one will never look at the word “Together” or “Ensemble” again the same way, because it means something bigger than the dictionary could ever say. Dictionary definition: into or in one gathering, company, mass, place, or body: to call the people together. My definition: united- when you and another person are doing something ~ you’re united in what you’re doing, with all differences forgotten, because, essentially, you’re the same, and being ~ or doing something ~ brings out that equality. The world is ~ and always will be, it just takes people who know that to show the rest of the world. United in diversity- aren’t we all? Diversity! Bingo!!! That’s what we are. The American and Belgian students, we’re diverse to the limits, and best of friends. An adventure and friendship of a lifetime for me began with conversation. Sunday afternoon, doing homework and a window popped up on the computer screen. “Emer” “Yes?” “It’s Flore, your pen pal” “…OMG, HI!!!!” “I mean, Salut!!!” Flore and I, our friendship began with conversation and I hope it always stays that way. I mean, the European Union was all about removing boundaries and borders, well, we’re about removing language barriers and not letting physical boundaries stop friendships from flourishing. Conversation is one of a couple ways to get rid of language barriers- for once I can be proud of my inability to not stop talking! What bad could happen from talking? Practice makes perfect and I truly believe that the more we practice talking to each other in each other’s language we will come to understand each other. And that- that would just be…a dream come true.

We DID video conference with students at Smith on March 23 10-12pm

Thank you to Federal Express for offering their teleconferencing facility in Brussels so that our traveling students could share their learning with students back at Smith. Go FedEX!!!! This event was an incredible real-time learning experience! Thank you to UNC and the efforts of Bjorn Hennings, manager of the Carolina Center for Educational Excellence. We appreciate all you did to make the connection. Thank you to Rebekah Cole and Monica Liverman for making arrangements for Smith students.

Journey with us.... will try to send pictures along the way

March 17 - Leave for Paris March 18 - Arrive Paris, rest and explore the city! March 19- Explore Paris March 20- Paris: museums, shopping and Eiffel Tower March 21 - Head for Brussels; meet our pen pals in the "Grand Place"; visit the European Parliament together; head to Liege to spend the night in host families March 22 - Spend the day at Saint-Benoit Saint-Servais- attend classes; my students will love English class; tour Liege, socratic seminar on the EU; spend evening with families March 23 - Early train to Brussels for visitation at European Commission - spend day in Brussels; return to host families March 24- Tour Maastricht and WWII cemetery with families Souper-spectacle that night...what fun! March 25 - Bid adieu to our host families and new friends; on to Brussels to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the Treaty of Rome March 26- Going home!

Meeting my Fate and Justine ....by Angela

There were just seventeen days left until I would meet my fate. At least that was how I interpreted it. People have praised me, saying that I would be fine there, and that all of my years spent studying French would now finally pay off. And I guess that my three years of middle school French would make me a lot better off than those who had not even studied a year. Perhaps the most nerve-racking part of all was thinking about how I could completely forget all the French I’d learned while I was in Belgium. It would definitely be very different from speaking French in class—I wouldn’t be as comfortable speaking French to complete strangers (and trying not to make any mistakes at all with my limited vocabulary) as speaking French to my friends or my teachers (and knowing that they would understand if I did make a mistake). And then again, I wasn’t the most optimistic person in my class. But I can try to be optimistic about my fate. After all, it would be a great experience—and I could improve my speaking skills as well. And the best part of all would be becoming great friends with Justine Marchal, whose family will be my host family for a week. I have also learned plenty in preparation for our seminars about the European Union, and in preparation for everything else that we will be doing there. I might even be able to say that I have learned more in these two or three months than I have ever in my life. There has also been plenty of excitement in my life during these few months. Anxiety as well, of course. Who couldn’t be both excited and anxious about going to Belgium and living in a host family? And this my excitement and anxiety may well be beyond those of others—this is my first time traveling to Europe, my first time living in a host family, my first time traveling to a country where the official language isn’t English or Chinese. And this excitement and anxiety increases as I count down the days left until I am riding the train from Paris to Brussels. It will continue to increase as we near the train station at Brussels, as I glance around for the face of Justine Marchal and her family, which I have seen only in pictures, as I spot them and try to find a comprehensible sentence or two that I could say to them... And trust me—it’s not like I haven’t had nightmares about this. This is also the first time that I have stopped to ponder about how I will truly miss them when I am forced to board the plane back to Chapel Hill, back to North Carolina, and back to the United States. But that does not mean that all hope is lost for Justine and I to stay friends, even though it will be much more difficult to do so from such far away places. But we will keep in touch. We will try to meet each other—face to face—every year, if possible. We will remain friends, bonded together by a type of friendship that can only truly arise from being unable to see each other whenever we want to. And as for the long-term goals—they are countless. I will have something extra to include in my college resume. I will be able to consider a future abroad, to see if it really fits into my future. I will have a chance to find out if French is really for me. If I had asked one of my Belgian friends what “E.U.” stood for, they would have probably immediately answered, “les États-Unis.” Of course, these three words are French. Translated into English, they mean “the United States,” or rather “the States United.” But here in America, if I had asked perhaps twenty people in Chapel Hill, or rather, anywhere in the United States, what “E.U.” stood for, none of them would have answered “les États-Unis.” And that is because here in the United States of America, “E.U.” is an abbreviation for the European Union. And of those twenty Americans, perhaps only one or two of them would have known that. And it is our duty—that is, the duty of the UNION*—to increase that number by as much as possible. And to help us accomplish this goal, we have all attended the “Euro Club,” which meets every Tuesday after school and every Thursday during lunch, and we have all prepared an “EU journal” with notes from those club meetings. So what exactly is the European Union? It is a family of twenty-seven democratic countries in Europe. They have shared values of democracy, freedom, and social justice. Their mission is to provide peace, prosperity, and stability for its peoples; overcome the divisions on the continent, ensure that its people can live in safety; promote balanced economic and social development; meet the challenges of globalization and preserve the diversity of the peoples of Europe; and uphold the values that Europeans share. But that is simply a basic outline of the goals of the European Union. It does so much more, and deserves so much more credit for doing what it does. The European Union has funded our trip to France and Belgium. And now it is your job to learn more about the EU and to help others learn more about it. Spread the word! *The UNION is made up of the students who will be traveling to Paris, France, and Brussels and Liège, Belgium in March 2007.

Emer's dream

Smith Middle School. It was the 3rd school I’d seen that day and I knew it wouldn’t be the last. The teachers there seemed so friendly, but what really intrigued me was the French Department. Apparently, they were making a trip to Belgium. My friends Olivia had previously told me that her school in England were going to Belgium, but I had never imagined a school in America would go. The name America had gotten as the land of oppertunities was suddenly maing so much more sense! It was from that moment on, I had told myself, if they go to Belgium, and I am taking French, I will be on that trip. Since I found out there was a trip happening it had more meaning to me. It had the meaning of a goal to achieve- a dream.

Another cool design for our T-shirts

Another cool design for our T-shirts
Created by Angela

I know more about the EU than you....Nathalie

I’m so excited! Can you guess why? I didn’t think so. I’m excited because I know more about the EU than you. I have studied really hard, and I have learned that there are many differences between the EU and America. Just to clarify, the EU is the European Union. You will be surprised on how many differences there are between the EU and America. Lucky for you, I will not name them all. But I am going to tell you about some of the main differences. One of the big differences is space. In America people like their personal space and our houses are huge! Well, that’s different in Europe. People live small and close to each other. Their houses are sometimes even connected. In America with our big lawns and big houses, we also have a lot of junk in our houses. Most of it is unnecessary too. In the EU people have what they need. Every day they go to the market to get food. They sometimes skip the bread in the market and go to a bakery to get food. Here in America we go to the grocery store once a week and buy a week’s supply of food. That is also because we have to drive everywhere to get what we want. In Europe they walk or bike to the store and back. That makes it easier for them to go every day. I hope that you have learned from what I have just told you. And if you don’t believe me, just go to one of the countries of the European Union, and you’ll see that everything I’ve said is true. Oh…time really flies by when you’re writing. The bell is about to ring; I have to go! Bye, bye. Nathalie

Thinking About Her Sister's Trip 3 Years ago..Abby's Reflections

Four years ago my sister was given the experience of a lifetime, and ever since then I’ve wanted that experience too. Ms.McMahon has finally given me that opportunity. Before I could wrap my head around it, I would be on a plane heading to my dream destination, France. Though I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, I’ve never been more nervous and afraid at the same time. Nervous about the plane ride, and afraid of forgetting simple things that I’m going to need to know like “where is the bathroom?” and “what time is it?” I have taken three years to learn this language, all for this experience and if I get all the way to France and forget everything I’ve worked so hard to know it won’t be a pretty sight. I’ve maintained a solid “A” all year long in French, but writing French and speaking French are two completely different things. I am a better writer than a speaker, especially in front of people who grew up speaking French as their first language. I’m sure that this trip is going to be amazing, and an experience of a lifetime but I just can’t be excited when all I can think about is how I’m going to attempt to have a conversation with someone and just draw blanks. When my sister went to France she had the most amazing time, and when she came back she couldn’t stop talking about how she wanted to go back. I wish I could have that, I wish I could be excited and not scared, but I can’t. Seeing my sister in videos of her in France, talking so easily and seeing how she couldn’t stop smiling and laughing, it all just made me want it more. I know that this was going to be an amazing experience after I adjusted to the language and the culture, but until then I stick to being scared out of my mind.

.......from Jenny's heart

I’m either more worried than I should be, or less worried than what’s expected of me in situations like these. No, I’m not talking about a hostage situation or an emergency situation. This situation is traveling to Belgium in only near two weeks, and being thrust into a whole new culture that speaks a complete different language than from what I’m used to in the United States. Just thinking about it gets me a little nervous, a little worried, mostly excited, and just a tiny bit scared. I know that it’s going to be a wonderful experience, touring Paris and speaking French to native speakers. I’m also so excited that I’ll get to see my pen pal, Adrienne, and stay at her family’s home in Liège, Belgium. I always look forward to the emails I send back and forth with my Belgian pen pal, Adrienne. We’ve been communicating together since the beginning of seventh grade in 2005, and I’ve learned a lot about the modern culture and daily routines of kids who are my age who attend school and do activities just like me. Adrienne has always expressed a great hope of seeing the United States in her own eyes sometime, and she states that she would love to see the country she’s heard so much about. I only wish that after I’ve seen her country, I am able to take her to see mine! There are so many differences between the Belgians and the Americans, besides the obvious. I’d like to see how the school system and curriculum in Belgium differs from our North Carolina Standard Course of Study, what games the Belgians do for fun, and what extracurricular activities are offered. When I first signed up to take French as a language in sixth grade, I never dreamed that it would lead to this opportunity to learn more about another culture and broaden my global understanding. But yet, here I am, panicking over how many pairs of socks I’ll need in Belgium and wondering if I’ll make a taboo mistake when I’m talking in French. Another aspect of the trip I’m excited about is going to the headquarters of the EU (the European Union) and learning much more about the EU from European residents under the law of the EU. I’ve learned so, so much since I started my quest for knowledge a few months ago, and I only want to keep expanding this knowledge and put it to good use for the future. Who knows the day when the EU will surpass the United States in power? From the view today, it’s very likely that that will happen. Until March 17th, then!

It's all about being "united in diversity"... Mme McMahon

On the surface it looks like just another funding opportunity for yet another school program. Let it sink in however, $67,000 and it has deep implications as well as benefits of equity and advocacy for students in our school district. In January of this year, the European Union awarded Smith Middle School 51,000 euros (roughly $67,000) for its “Getting to Know Europe” , a proposal I submitted after attending last summer’s EU workshop hosted by UNC’s EU Center of Excellence and World View. These dynamic international organizations invited teachers from around the state to explore and create lesson plans on the EU while sharing this grant opportunity and encouraging teachers to apply. Why has the European Union funded a public school? There are lots of reasons, but the clearest one to me lies in its name: Union. Union means bringing together, sharing knowledge, power, ideas and resources. Union means making choices for the common good. The EU has invited our American students to learn more about their institutions, their system of values that are also shared by our nation, and their being “united in diversity”- a richness of cultures brought together in one body. Nations around the world are drawing lines in the sand – demarcation lines that promote a we versus they mentality- opportunities such as this grant provides, breaks those barriers as students learn how to respect each other’s opinions, value multiple perspectives and honor international relationships while bridging the gap to understanding through language. The cover story for the December 10th issue of Time Magazine emphasizes the need for schools to enter the 21st century by teaching more about our world. Students need to learn how to be “global trade literate, sensitive to foreign cultures and conversant in different languages”. I can teach this from the front of the room, or I can take my students to host families in Belgium where they will experience European life up close and personal. Thanks to the EU grant, many students who used to “watch from the window” as their more affluent classmates boarded the plane to Europe are able to join us on this voyage of self-discovery and new cultures. Six teachers will be traveling from grant funds and are excited about bringing back new lessons for the classroom. How has our “journey of learning” progressed since we received this award? Traveling students have been meeting once a week after school or during lunches to learn not only about the European Union and its institutions but also about how life for a teen in a Europe is similar or different from life in America. With guidance from high school students who speak French well, my students can discuss many topics of EU life in French including: capital punishment, free market system and travel -friendly legislation with the introduction of the Euro. A university professor and local French speakers have visited my classroom to add depth to the studies. We have studied Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” in French so that they can discuss his dream for human rights in America with their Belgian pen pals and compare it to the EU’s mission as well as their own personal dreams. In a few weeks Belgian and American teens will be discussing “shared values” and hopes for the future, not only for their respective countries but also for the world. My students asked, “How do we publicize what we have learned?” After discussions with my Belgian colleague and his students, “Union” came out the front runner for our T-shirts explaining that Union is the same word in English and French and shows that there is strength in unity. My students agreed, two student artists created the logos and all of us will be wearing T-shirts honoring this international friendship. The physical journey begins March 17 as twenty-nine students (26 middle school students and 4 high school students) as well as 6 teachers board the plane for Europe. At least fifteen of the travelers were fully or partially funded by the grant. One student cannot stop smiling as he whispers daily “I am going to see the Eiffel Tower” –one of several economically disadvantaged student travelers who thought that this trip was only for those who could afford it- never dreaming that the EU would pay for this experience of a lifetime. The plane lands in Paris first where we will spend three nights. We will meet our Belgian pen pals at the “Grand Place” in Brussels on the 4th day. This first meeting when the students exchange “la bise” and begin to communicate face to face is one of the most memorable days of my life. They have been corresponding by email or MSN for a few months, but actually witnessing their excitement at seeing each other makes the time and effort for this trip pale in comparison to the joy of watching these young people connect. I can feel myself saying, “ Yes, I can do this again.” With our Belgian hosts we will visit the European Parliament and return to Liege to spend four days with our international families. My students will attend classes at Saint-Benoit Saint-Servais school in Liege, participate in a “rally” of the town, visit Maastricht and the American WWII cemetery and be entertained by the Belgian students for a host-family/American “souper-spectacle” on Saturday night. The American students will return to Brussels on Friday to visit the European Commission, and we will leave Liege to spend one night in a hotel in Brussels on Sunday, March 25th, an important date in EU history because it is the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. Thanks to the European Union, a journey of learning about international affairs, friendship and self-discovery has begun. My deepest gratitude goes to UNC’s EU Center of Excellence, to World View for all their encouragement and support and to M. Labeye, my Belgian colleague who has worked with me for ten years on this creating successful Exchange Experiences. Robin McMahon French Teacher Smith Middle School Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Willing to go the Distance...by Sarah

A boring bus ride and maybe a stay over night, this is what comes to mind when you think of a 8th grade field trip. Ms. McMahon put a whole new definition in my head of the meaning of what an educational trip can be. Eight hours over seas and a ten night stay in Paris, Belgium, Brussels and many other places. This is a child hood dream that has been granted. This amazing opportunity has become open to the students taking French in Smith Middle School. There is no doubt that this trip will be full of new experiences and life long memories but it scares me out of my mind every time I think about having to talk and stay in a home with a Belgium family. No books, no teacher only what I had learned in class. I am scared that the culture shock will cause me to forget all I have learned or how to say that I DO NOT eat sea food. This only means that I have to work very hard to get the work done. I also have to dedicate lots of time to all my other classes to keep good grades so I am eligible to go. I am willing to go the distance and I am positive that it will all be worth it.