(03/22/13) - Some Mid-Michigan fifth graders can brag that they are published authors.
For six months, they learned about World War II from the men and women who witnessed it first hand. Then they turned their research into a book.
"My students thought it was really, really important to make sure these stories don't get lost," said Lisa Yoder, fifth grade teacher.
Second graders at Ithaca South Elementary hosted some special guests on Friday - fifth graders from North Elementary and five World War II vets. The fifth graders showed highlights from their book, "Gratiot County: We were there in World War II." For background, the students sat down with several vets to learn their stories.
"They really were curious and asked a lot of questions. So I think they're real interested in this," said Earl Whitman World War II Army veteran and Alma resident.
The students discovered that not everyone who went off to war made it back home. A relative came to class to make sure that those stories live on, too.
The kids also found that many women served their country as nurses and medical technicians.
"I think it's important for the children to learn and I think it's nice to learn what women were doing back then," said Arlene GearhardtWorld War II Army medical technician and Ithaca resident.
Twenty-two fifth graders compiled all the information.
"This was not a joke. This was the real thing. A lot of them sacrificed this lives for us so we could be free," said fifth grader Brayden Saxton.
The Gratiot County Community Foundation paid for 30 copies of the book.
"Us guys are going to be gone, and if they don't get something wrote down about it, these people aren't going to know about it," said Bob Tedhams, World War II Army veteran and Alma resident.
"It's so important to keep these stories and pass them on," Yoder said.
The vets were very happy to share their experiences.
"We had more than a visit," Tedhams said. "We had a good time."
ABC12 Main Station