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Hundreds of students get history lesson from working tanks at Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage

LI students get history lesson with working tanks
LI students get history lesson with working tanks 02:08

OLD BETHPAGE, N.Y. -- Long Island students got a history lesson from working tanks on Friday. It's an effort to give context to the war in Ukraine through the lens of the past.

CBS2's Steve Overmyer spoke with students who found a connection between history and the headlines.

Conflict on TV may seem distant. But up close, it's more personal.

"I was terrified. I wasn't even ready for the explosion ... I flinched," said Kevin Nunez, an 8th grader at Brentwood South.

"The first time ... I actually felt like my heart just jumped ... and the second time, it was louder than I actually thought," 8th grader Matthew Hernandez said.

More than 400 Long Island students took a field trip to the Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage, immersing themselves in vehicles of history.

"It makes me feel proud to be American and I feel proud that soldiers risk their lives everyday to save us, for the next generation," 8th grader Jasleen Mendez said.

Echoes of the past draw parallels with modern day.

"How Hitler was trying to invade Poland is the same way as Russia is trying to invade Ukraine and making excuses and lies," 8th grader Rudy Bahena said.

"To see the true meaning and how serious matters of war are, and how it changes our society and the effects that it has on their generation," Brentwood South teacher Melissa DeSimone said.

"I think that really hit home with them and, as far as the relevance, absolutely. The kids today have been asking questions about it and they are. They are aware of what's going on in Europe right now and with the teachers here and then us doing our presentations, they're learning about the relevance and the connection between the two," historian Hank Clemmens said.

These students are learning to process the reality of war.

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