One state lawmaker wants to recognize veterans who volunteer their time — and stories — in schools.

New and longtime military veterans can make history come alive, in a more realistic way than a book or video can do. So says state Representative Steve Wieckert (R-Appleton).

"We'd like them to come into the classroom and tell the students what it's like serving your country, to let them know that the price of democracy is not free."

The Appleton Republican says these first-hand experiences are very important to the children, who'll someday grow up to be decision makers and leaders. The problem is, Wieckert says, so many of our older veterans, especially from WWII, are dying.

"We're losing a lot of that organizational memory of what it's like being on the front lines or being in a ship when it's under attack or trying to rescue some friends and comrades from an island, for example, or defending your fellow pilots in air battles."

Wieckert's bill (AB 63) requires the state Department of Veterans Affairs to award a certificate of achievement and appreciation to veterans who spend more than 20 hours at private or public schools, telling kids about their military experiences. He says he's not worried about people being opposed to having a "military presence" in the classroom, encouraging the recruitment of our kids to the Military, because that's not at all what this bill is about.

"This is certainly not a way to say that war is bad or war is good."

Wieckert says he hasn't seen any opposition to this measure, and Veterans organizations think it's a great way to get their veterans more active and involved. This legislation is scheduled for floor debate in the Assembly today (Tuesday).

According to Wieckert's press release, this bill changes the "Hire a Veteran Week" from the second week in November to the week in November during in which November 11 falls. The bill also designates the seven-day period that ends on November 11 as "Veterans Recognition Week," to recognize the contributions and sacrifices veterans have made to our society. ( pronounce Wieckert )

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report (1:44 MP3)

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