They don't remember the Persian Gulf War. After all, most were in kindergarten.
But students in Dave La Shomb's Advanced Placement American Government class today said they are concerned for American soldiers serving in the Middle East and for the Iraqi people as the United States and coalition forces move forward in the war against Iraq.
Nearly every student in La Shomb's class today said they watched President Bush's speech Wednesday night and remained glued to their television sets during the missile strikes. Many watched the news with their parents.
La Shomb said his students are now studying the executive branch of government so the president's actions and military decisions in recent days have been integrated into his curriculum.
"I wanted to know what was going to happen," said Mike Elder, a junior. "If we're going to war, I want to know what's going to happen. I'm almost 18. If we're going to war, I want to know if I'm going to have to fight."
"I was kind of scared," said Emily Settergren, also a junior. "You don't know if they have nuclear weapons. We haven't had anything big happen in our lives like this and we're not used to it."
"I'm disappointed it's come to this, with all the negotiations and the security inspections and the U.N.," said Maya Kuehn, a junior. "It's unfortunate."
Whether they are for or against this war, students are passionate about their beliefs. Students United For Peace has formed at the school. Members of the group planned to walk out at noon today to protest military action against Iraq.
While several students in La Shomb's class planned to join the walkout today in protest, others were angry that their classmates would consider it.
Members of Students United For Peace said they put up peace signs around school earlier this week and by this morning most of them had been torn down. Several students began to argue as they discussed how they felt about a war against Iraq.
"You have to sacrifice. You're taking your freedom for granted," said a student.
"People are out there fighting for us and putting their lives on the line and these people don't care," added Jenny Badeaux, a junior.
La Shomb said his students are not only well informed, but harbor strong opinions about the situation.
"You can't beat teaching American Government during a crisis," said La Shomb.
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