Hon­or­ing him on the page

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS -

When Brizill was in the fifth or sixth grade, he knew he wanted to be a teacher.

“I had a lot of great teach­ers com­ing up in ele­men­tary school, mid­dle school and high school,” said Brizill, who teaches his­tory at Elk­ton High School in Mary­land. “I wanted to do what they did.”

A self-de­scribed World War II buff, Brizill said he has grav­i­tated to read­ing about his­tory since he was a kid. He added that his grand­fa­thers were both vet­er­ans — one served in World War II, the other in the Korean War — who am­pli­fied his love of learn­ing about his­tory.

When Brizill first learned about Miller, he was sur­prised that he hadn’t heard the story sooner.

One of the things that pushed Brizill to write his book was a doc­u­men­tary made by Na­tional Ge­o­graphic in 2001 about Miller as part of the 60th an­niver­sary of the Pearl Har­bor at­tack.

Not only did he en­joy hear­ing Miller’s story, but so did the stu­dents that Brizill shared it with.

Over the past three or four years, Brizill has re­searched Miller’s his­tory with the in­tent to write a book about it.

He said his book is pri­mar­ily tar­geted to­ward mid­dle school­ers, but he has found that adults want to read books like his too.

“Peo­ple want to hear sto­ries like Dorie Miller be­cause most peo­ple weren’t taught about this in school,” he said.

Brizill hopes read­ers, es­pe­cially young peo­ple who are told what they can’t do, find a kin­dred un­der­dog spirit in Miller and are re­minded of what they can do.

“I think our young peo­ple need he­roes,” he said. “They need to hear about sto­ries that maybe aren’t front and cen­ter, aren’t fa­mil­iar. They need to see ex­am­ples of young peo­ple who over­came the odds. They need to see ex­am­ples of young peo­ple that rose above the la­bels that were placed on them.”

As his book en­ters the hands of au­di­ences, Brizill said telling Miller’s story was his way of shar­ing one of the voices that has been hushed by his­tory.

“To in­tro­duce this ex­tra­or­di­nary in­di­vid­ual to a new gen­er­a­tion of kids was a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. “I like to find sto­ries

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