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Published on March 28th, 2012 | by Staff 12-13

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WWII veterans come to Samo

WAR VETERANS: World War II veterans visited Samo on March 20 to speak to a group of students from Carl Hobkirk's history classes about their experiences in the war. (Amancai Biraben/The Samohi)

Amancai Biraben
Staff Writer

For many high school students, history may seem like nothing but facts from a book that have no connection to their lives. But for Carl Hobkirk’s students, on March 20 and 22, history took on a new dimension when five World War II veterans addressed his classes in the library.

“I think for some students, [the veterans’] experiences came across as being very real,” Hobkirk said. “And their experiences with World War II and the Depression were relatable as opposed to something they had read about in the book.”

Hobkirk came upon this opportunity when junior Daniel Cott suggested his grandfather and veteran Lieutenant Engineering Officer Ben Cott, 92, come with his friends who fought in the South Pacific.

Lt. Cott participated in the battles of Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and several smaller battles. Though one would think it would be hard to share these tough experiences, Lt. Cott believes the opposite.

“We were very anxious to share these experiences. We think it’s important that people understand what happened in the second World War and why it’s so important,” Lt. Cott said.

Though he is enthusiastic about sharing his personal history, recalling the battles he had to face is sometimes overwhelming.

“I get emotional thinking about it. It was a big slice out of my life,” Lt. Cott said. “It really changed the course of my life.”

Though the war happened long ago, these men say that they will never forget the tough period of time they survived.

“I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday,” Lt. Cott said, “but there’s no hesitation about what happened during the war years.”

“I’m going to try to get some people who can talk to us from more contemporary history, like the Cold War. Next year, I’m going to try do the same thing again,” Hobkirik said.

Veteran Ben Cott came across this opportunity when his grandson and one of Hobkirk’s students Daniel Cott suggested he come with his friends who had gone through similar events. Though one would think it would be hard to share these tough experiences, Sr. Cott thinks the opposite.

“We were very anxious to share these experiences. We think it’s important that people understand what happened in the second World War and why it’s so important,” Cott said.

Though he is enthusiastic about sharing his personal history, recalling the many of the battles he had to face makes him sentimental.

“I get emotional thinking about it. It was a big slice out of my life,” Cott said. “It really changed the course of my life.”

Though the war happened long ago, it is without doubt that these men will ever forget the tough period of time they survived.

“I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday,” Cott said. “But there’s no hesitation about what happened during the war years.”

 

abiraben@thesamohi.com

 


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