Today, at Novi High School, a group of students’ history lesson made a personal appearance.  Mr. Franchi’s AP US History class didn’t get their lesson from a textbook, but from the mouth of a living legend. 

The class started in the normal fashion; discussing last night’s reading assignment and reviewing worksheets.  WWII has become the topic of study in the class, and the students have been learning about the lead-up to the Allies invasion of Normandy.

In commemoration of the 65th anniversary of D-Day, Donald Burgett, Screaming Eagle, paratrooper of the renowned 101 Airborne, made a special appearance to talk to the class.  Burgett’s blunt descriptions are sprinkled with a sense of humor that captivated everyone.  His narrative of parachuting in behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day will undoubtedly leave an indelible impression on the minds of the two-dozen teens.  His grippingly graphic and emotional account of what he went through can’t be found between the covers of a textbook. 

This was a special production day for us because we got to witness a member of the greatest generation make an impact on the youth of today.  Burgett’s bravery, selfless service to his country, and true American values really did sink in.  After the bell rang, the teacher gave the class the option to stay and ask questions.  No one got up.  After questions were answered and it was time for Burgett to leave, the students gave him a standing ovation.  Many walked up to him, shook his hand, thanked him for his service and the time he shared with them.   We left Novi High School with a bittersweet sentiment.  We were touched by the appreciation the students showed their guest, happy to witness the sharing of Burgett’s experience, but sad to know that opportunities like these will soon be nonexistent. 



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