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Guide to planning seasonal celebrations

Voters' Voices

Jobs, the economy and the 2004 presidential election

Holiday Movie Preview 2004

Multimedia slide show with capsule previews of upcoming films

Standardized Testing 101

A primer for parents

Deadly Weapons in Dangerous Hands

Special report about weapons of mass destruction

Losing Ground

Special report: Wetlands' demise ripples across nation

Iraq: After Saddam

Continuing coverage of the conflict in Iraq


Thursday, April 10, 2003
Educators consider fall of Baghdad a teaching moment





and Gannett News Service
Learn about Tomahawk
cruise missiles
Beyond smart bombs: High-tech weapons explained
Meet U.S. commanders directing the war
Learn about Iraq's most powerful men
Case against Saddam
Suiting up for chemical war
Saddam's rise to power
Key U.S. diplomatic players

No way around it, they were compelling, even breathtaking images.

Men and boys laughing and cheering in the streets of Baghdad, celebrating the literal fall of Saddam Hussein as they tore his statue off its pedestal. More confetti-strewn jubilees in the northern city of Erbil, and yet again in Dearborn, Mich., where Iraqi-Americans marched, waved the flags of both nations and wept in joy.

But there were other visuals, too: injured Iraqis being rushed to hospitals, pockets of resistance in which bearded men shook guns, cautious Pentagon briefings warning that it's not over.

It's a lot for an adult to take in, but for young people it's -- what? A teaching moment? Something that should be carefully filtered through educational TV channels in sanitized 10-minute reports? Not classroom appropriate?

All answers are correct, depending on which educator is speaking and who -- and how old -- the pupils are. Still, it seems apparent that if ever there was a current event worthy of discussion, Wednesday's news is it.

Here's how one teacher plans to approach what he calls "history in the making."

"One of our core goals is to produce a responsible citizenry, so that when they graduate, they will take a side on issues and vote," says Will Ellery, 32, who co-teaches Lawrence North High School's American history/American literature class, an advanced daily course taken by 90 juniors.

Well before 9/11, Ellery and fellow teacher Bret Crousore, 30, invited local veterans to address students who were plugging through lessons about World War I, World War II and the Korean conflict. Assistant principal Karen Seybert recalls the effect of the first talk by a World War II veteran.

"It was an eye-opening experience for the kids," she says. "They felt they needed to show support for what this generation had done."

Ellery says the kids, on their own, organized what has become an annual Veterans' Day celebration. No doubt that helped set the stage for eventual discussions on Iraq. A pivotal moment was when students expressed frustration in January with an antiwar rally Downtown. They felt the rally did not show respect to those getting ready to go overseas.

"We challenged them, 'Look, if this is what you really believe, and you are sitting here not doing anything about it, then get busy,' " Ellery said.

The result was a "support the troops" rally at Lawrence organized by the class and attended by 1,100 students. Among the speakers were radio talk show host Greg Garrison and a student who told the audience, "Even if you do not support this war, support our troops, because they provide the blanket of freedom under which you sleep.' "

Ellery says he has not heard from any faculty dissenters, but he knows not all students were comfortable with that message. One student (not in his class) came to school a few days later wearing a T-shirt that said "Bush is an International Terrorist."

Five of the history/lit students approached that student in the cafeteria, says Ellery. "I was pleased they took the high road. They just sat and talked and asked him to explain what he meant."

As for Wednesday's news, Ellery says he and Crousore have already discussed it as a "teaching moment" -- an extraordinary one to share with students. "We compare it to the fall of the Iron Curtain."


Back to top
General: Iraqi troops improve
The top U.S. general in Iraq said Wednesday that once Iraqi government forces take the lead in the war, the insurgency can be defeated and the American troop level reduced.

| USA TODAY | Wednesday, January 26, 2005 | 11:40 pm

Parties waging a polite battle to control Najaf
In this city, the holiest in Iraq to the country's Shiite Muslim majority, political rhetoric is heating up. But unlike in some places in Iraq, the debate here isn't focused on religion or historic ethnic divisions, and there's little violence.

| USA TODAY | Tuesday, January 25, 2005 | 11:34 pm

In Iraq, the question is: To vote or not to vote
A recent survey by the International Republican Institute found that 80% of Iraqis say they will probably vote this weekend. But unrelenting insurgent violence, the specter of post-election sectarian strife and confusion over complex ballots threaten to snuff out democracy before it can take hold.

| USA TODAY | Tuesday, January 25, 2005 | 11:17 pm

Politics popular in Shiite areas
In Basra and other parts of heavily Shiite southern Iraq, people are embracing politics.

| USATODAY.com | Thursday, January 20, 2005 | 11:51 pm

Lengthy ballots, ad blitzes contribute to confusion
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| USATODAY.com | Wednesday, January 19, 2005 | 11:44 pm

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| USATODAY.com | Tuesday, January 18, 2005 | 11:46 pm

Female Iraqi candidates risk lives
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| USATODAY.com | Wednesday, January 12, 2005 | 10:57 pm

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| USATODAY.com | Wednesday, January 12, 2005 | 10:57 pm

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| USATODAY.com | Tuesday, January 11, 2005 | 10:58 pm

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| USATODAY.com | Monday, January 10, 2005 | 11:03 pm

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| USATODAY.com | Thursday, January 6, 2005 | 11:47 pm

Iraqi expatriates fear being left out of elections
Iraqi-American groups say disorganization and overly stringent requirements are plaguing an ambitious effort to allow expatriates worldwide to vote in Iraq's Jan. 30 elections.

| USATODAY.com | Thursday, January 6, 2005 | 10:48 pm

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| USATODAY.com | Wednesday, January 5, 2005 | 11:15 pm

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| USATODAY.com | Wednesday, January 5, 2005 | 11:13 pm

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| USA TODAY | Monday, January 3, 2005 | 11:30 pm

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| USATODAY.com | Monday, January 3, 2005 | 11:00 pm

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| USATODAY.com | Sunday, January 2, 2005 | 10:57 pm

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| USA TODAY | Wednesday, December 29, 2004 | 11:47 pm

Soldiers saw giant tent as inviting target for insurgents
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| USA TODAY | Wednesday, December 22, 2004 | 11:42 pm

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A Virginia company this week became the first large contractor to withdraw from the multibillion-dollar Iraq reconstruction drive, saying work there was too dangerous and costly.

| USA TODAY | Wednesday, December 22, 2004 | 11:35 pm

Mosul attack showcases insurgents' intelligence
The implications of the audacious suicide attack in the center of a heavily guarded U.S. military base in Mosul go beyond a failure of base security.

| USATODAY.com | Wednesday, December 22, 2004 | 11:11 pm

Mosul blast hits U.S. hard
A massive lunchtime explosion struck a flimsy mess tent filled with soldiers Tuesday at a military base near Mosul. It was one of the deadliest attacks yet against Americans in Iraq. Mlitary spokesmen in Baghdad and at the Pentagon said 19 U.S. soldiers were killed.

| USA TODAY | Tuesday, December 21, 2004 | 11:45 pm

Soldiers who led invasion must return
Continuing insurgent attacks have forced the United States to boost its force in Iraq toward 150,000, its highest level yet.

| USATODAY.com | Sunday, December 19, 2004 | 11:08 pm

Chaplain, others look to lift Christmas spirit in war zone
Across Iraq, military chaplains will enter makeshift chapels on the morning of Dec. 25 and pray for peace on earth in a land where peace continues to be in short supply.

| Gordon Trowbridge | Marine Corps Times | Sunday, December 19, 2004 | 6:41 pm

Troops can't beat deals at PX
Flush with hazardous-duty pay and tax-free earnings, U.S. troops in combat zones often have more money to spend than things to buy. That's where the PX, or post exchange, comes in, providing a taste of home if only for the time it takes to eat a bag of Doritos.

| C. Mark Brinkley | Army Times | Thursday, December 16, 2004 | 11:22 pm

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The Army said Wednesday that it is spending $4.1 billion to armor all military wheeled vehicles in Iraq by June.

| USATODAY.com | Wednesday, December 15, 2004 | 11:23 pm

Air Force boosts number of supply flights
Roads have become too dangerous for American convoys, the top Air Force general said Tuesday.

| USATODAY.com | Tuesday, December 14, 2004 | 11:32 pm

Army Guard now says its Iraq troops figure was inaccurate
The Army National Guard said Monday it had given USA TODAY an inaccurate count of the total number of Guard troops in Iraq since the beginning of the war in March 2003, but still could not provide a precise count.

| Dave Moniz | USA TODAY | Tuesday, December 14, 2004 | 10:29 am

Fair vote possible in Anbar, top Marine says

The U.S. military believes Iraq's rebellious Anbar province can be brought into national elections scheduled for January.

| Gordon Trowbridge | Army Times | Sunday, December 12, 2004 | 11:05 pm

U.S. military preparing restive Iraqi province for elections
The top U.S. officer in Iraq's rebellious Anbar province believes the region can be settled and brought into national elections scheduled for Jan. 30. Anbar, a hotbed of insurgent unrest, stretches from west of Baghdad to the Syrian border and poses perhaps the toughest challenge to the U.S. mission in Iraq.

| Gordon Trowbridge | Army Times | Friday, December 10, 2004 | 9:09 pm


© 2003, Gannett News Service