Foundations of freedom

May 22, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - They might be copies and not originals, but the historical documents on display at E. Russell Hicks Middle School teach students about the events that have formed their freedoms, the school's principal said Monday.

Copies of the Declaration of Independence and World War II surrender documents show that people put a whole lot of effort into having freedom, a student in the eighth-grade United States history class at the middle school said.

Cyrus Mofid's class was on hand Monday morning for the rededication of the school's Freedom Shrine.

The Freedom Shrine showcases copies of 30 historical documents.

Included are Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" Speech and The Mayflower Compact. The Friends of Education Exchange Club rededicated the shrine, which originally was donated by the Antietam Exchange Club in 1973.

The rededication refocused students on the Freedom Shrine, Principal David Reeder said.

"Sometimes, you take things like this for granted," Reeder said. "It's not just a bunch of words on the wall."


The Friends of Education Exchange Club invited Art Callaham, executive director of The Greater Hagerstown Committee Inc., to speak during the rededication.

He promised students there would not be a test, as he launched into a story about the Battle of Fredericksburg (Va.) in 1862, which was a fight to free slaves, he said.

The students will be called upon to preserve freedom, hopefully in less heroic ways, he said.

Voting is a way to exercise freedom today, he said.

Christina Yeager teaches the U.S. history class and said the Battle of Fredericksburg will be on a test she gives as the class launches into its Civil War unit, a period in history that seems pretty popular with her students.

Rebecca Canova, 14, thought it was fun to hear other people's opinions about why history is important.

She likes studying history because "it's fun to learn about how it came to be today," she said.

Studying the Civil War is the most interesting because, "it changed our nation," said Kaitlyn Pettit, 13.

Mofid, 14, also likes studying the Civil War because "it changed the nation into being a better place," he said.

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