WASHINGTON, D.C.— Eight middle and high school educators have arrived in Washington, D.C. to begin the journey of a lifetime. They are embarking on a mission to memorialize eight service members of World War II who never made it home and to help invigorate World War II teaching in American classrooms. Over the next nine months, the teachers will research the life and sacrifice of their chosen service member, called a Fallen Hero.

In June 2019 the group will travel to Europe to continue their studies. Portions of the group will visit the East Coast Memorial in Battery Park, New York, Suresnes American Cemetery, Brittany American Cemetery, and Luxembourg American Cemetery. Along the way, teachers will deliver a eulogy to their Fallen Hero at the respective burial or memorial sites.

Sponsored by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), the program engages teachers with World War II research through primary and secondary sources, virtual lectures, and online discussions. This advanced professional development program also pays for all travel, courses, and curriculum development materials.

All of these activities support the development of the final products the teachers create: a lesson plan and a Fallen Hero profile. These materials will be published on ABMCeducation.org in November 2019. ABMCeducation.org is a free online classroom resource that currently hosts 54 lesson plans and 58 Fallen Hero profiles.

The following teachers have been chosen for this prestigious program. Teachers are listed with their school, city, and state.

Alan Birkemeier
Central Middle School
Columbus, Indiana

Jason Butler
DeKalb County School District
Stone Mountain, Georgia

Christopher Johnson
Central Bucks High School East
Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Leif Liberg
St. Mary’s Ryken High School
Leonardtown, Maryland

Jeannine Meis
Leon High School
Tallahassee, Florida

Gena Oppenheim
St. Ann’s School
Brooklyn, New York

Amy Page
Moriarty High School
Moriarty, New Mexico

Suzan Turner
Nashua-Plainfield High School
Nashua, Iowa

About National History Day (NHD): NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park that seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, and Southwest Airlines. For more information, visit nhd.org.


Lynne O'Hara
Director of Programs
Phone: 484-919-2595