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Students Raise War Memorial Funds

June 29, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A history project helped two California junior high school students learn about World War II and they used that knowledge to raise money _ a lot of money _ for a national memorial to those who served.

Shelly Arner and Stephen Costello completed their project last year and were so inspired they collected $1,200 from the 600 students at Fruitvale Junior High School in Bakersfield.

Then, armed with history lessons, conversations with World War II-era relatives and a video featuring former Sen. Bob Dole, who was wounded in the war, they made presentations at 40 schools across Kern County and raised $45,000.

``It was really emotional,″ Shelly said.

They and two classmates, Eric Bardet and Bryan Peters, were among 125 people honored at a White House reception Thursday for their roles in raising $92 million to create the National World War II Memorial.

A private group collecting the money _ the World War II Memorial Campaign headed by Dole and FedEx Corp. Chairman Fred Smith _ is trying to raise $100 million for the project, planned near the reflecting pool on the National Mall.

″(World War II) defined the 20th century,″ President Clinton told the group. ``And until it has a place on our National Mall, the story of America that is told there will be woefully incomplete.″

The memorial will honor the 16 million Americans who served in the war and the 400,000 who died. Groundbreaking is scheduled Nov. 10.

``It’s not for us,″ Dole said. He said it was important for future generations to understand the war because ``sometime, some generation may be called upon to make a sacrifice.″

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On the Net: http://www.wwiimemorial.com

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