Brenda Monson went into a Deseret Industries store with her daughter this past summer looking for classroom supplies.
She left with a tattered old suitcase for which she paid $100.
The cost may seem steep, but many would argue that the contents inside the suitcase are priceless – dozens of WWII artifacts connected to a deceased Salt Lake City veteran.
“This is why I love history,” Monson said. “What a cool way to help my class get excited about Veterans Day and history.”
Monson thought the suitcase would make for the perfect history lesson. As her students mulled over photographs, documents, and other memorabilia from the suitcase, they discovered personal details about the Air Force soldier named James Andrews.
He was stationed at Ft. Douglas and served in the Pacific in 1944 with the 20th Air Division. Several of the photographs show army personnel and equipment, but none included dates or names.
After doing some research, Monson found out that Andrews passed away in 2002. He had no children of his own, and Monson thinks the suitcase may have been donated by his brother, who died last year.
As the class period came to a close, it was clear that Monson’s students took the lesson to heart. Many shouted, “Let’s do this again!” just before the bell rang.