Learning from the legends

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jesse Henderson, of Cassville, will have the opportunity to travel with World War II veterans to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic and the 8th United States Army Air Corps and meet veterans of the Royal Air Force in England May 17 through May 28.

The Battle of the Atlantic, which was at its height from mid-1940 through the end of 1943, is often credited as a dominating factor through World War II. Every effort in Europe depended on the constant arrival of supplies along shipping routes, which the Germans made a full-throttle effort to block. The Allies' victory came at a cost of 36,200 sailors and 36,000 merchant seamen's lives.

The 8th Army Air Corps, at the loss of thousands of lives, protected England and Europe from the air and ultimately aided in achieving victory in Europe.

Henderson is one of 16 College of the Ozarks students who will participate in the event. The students will travel with seven World War II veterans, arriving in Cambridge and visiting nearby Parham Airfield, a former 8th Air Force Base.

The group will also visit the Cambridge American Cemetery, where the graves of 3,813 American military dead and 5,127 names of mission Americans from the air war over Europe and the Battle of the Atlantic are found, and tour London, the Churchill Museum and the famous Cabinet War Rooms, from where the prime minister directed the war effort.

Group members will take part in the special commemoration activities for the battle's 70th anniversary in Liverpool.

The trip is part of the College of the Ozarks Patriotic Education Travel Program, which gives students an opportunity to travel with veterans to their fields of battle in order to learn about history and sacrifice from the men and women who lived through the events. During the trips, students document the veterans' stories through photography, voice recorders, personal journals and a group blog.

For more information on the Patriotic Education Travel Program or to follow the blog for the 70th anniversary commemorative tour to England, visit www.cofo.edu.

Henderson is a 2010 graduate of Cassville High School. He is the son of Dr. Heidi Henderson, of Cassville.

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