Alabama high school honors fallen service members every day using social media

Alabama high school honors fallen service members every day using social media
The AHS Veterans Project tells the story of Alabama's fallen heroes. (AHS Veterans Project)

One Alabama high school is using social media to make every day Memorial Day.

The Auburn High School Veterans Project uses its popular Facebook Page to highlight a Vietnam War veteran from Alabama every day – either on that service member’s birthday or on the day of their death.

History teacher and the program’s director Blake Busbin said the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress was the impetus to the class recording the histories of individual veterans in 2014. That grew into the AHS Veterans Project.

“What we wanted to do was to find a way that we could really capture the unique story of the veteran in a way that allowed for an intimate conversation,” Busbin said.

AHS Veterans Project honors Alabama’s fallen from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Busbin said it didn’t take long for them to realize there was something different about the Vietnam veterans they interviewed.

“What really stood out to us that first year was the Vietnam veterans who joined us who, many of them who said, ‘Well no one’s really asked me my story before,’ and that resonated with us,” Busbin said.

In 2015, the students through interviews, documents and photos began to construct the stories of those Alabamians who died in the Vietnam War.

Busbin said Memorial Day weekend drives traffic to the Facebook Page and there is always a surge in the sharing of posts from throughout the years on Memorial Day.

But those who follow AHS Veterans Project on Facebook can get a post on their timeline daily that makes every day Memorial Day.

“I think it’s especially important this Memorial Day as many communities are finding their traditional commemorations of the holiday being postponed or being held virtually that we find a way to be online and allow for those stories to be told,” Busbin said.

Busbin said plans are to branch out to those Alabamians lost in other wars, starting next with the global war on terror.

He said his students today were not born when the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 took place, so it’s important for them to know the stories of those who went to war in response.

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