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Pick of the day: Visible wounds, invisible wars

Montgomery County and the military don't exactly go hand in glove, at least not in the popular stereotype of the affluent, highly educated suburb. But MoCo is a far more varied place than the stereotype allows for, and at Magruder High School in Rockville, teachers and students have learned that although fewer than 1 percent of Americans serve in the military, the pains of war can hit home even in communities where military service can seem like something for other people to do.

More students from Magruder have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than from any other school in the Washington area, and teachers there have tried to keep the memories of the fallen in the minds of current students. But that's not easy at a time when the wars seem far removed from the daily lives of most Americans. The Post's Chris Davenport, as part of his year-long Impact of War series, visits Magruder and explores attitudes toward the war. A scene from the story:

Pop quiz: How many in Anne Shanahan's fifth-period computer applications class can name a city in Iraq?

Among 20 students, nine hands go up.

"Baghdad," one student says.

Can anyone name another?


How many can name a city in Afghanistan?

This time, four hands.

"Kabul," says one student.

"That's what I was going to say," another says.

Why are we at war in Afghanistan?

"Because of the attacks of 9/11," a boy replies.

And Iraq?

"Honestly, that's something I don't know," he says. "Oil, maybe. Helping companies in America. But I'm not sure if that's true."

Davenport and The Post are also launching a blog and discussion group about the Impact of War, featuring conversations with returning vets, their families, counselors, experts on images of the military, and lots more. You'll see lots of new material on the blog starting next week and continuing throughout the year.

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By Marc Fisher  | April 20, 2010; 8:14 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  | Tags:  Military service, Montgomery County Maryland, September 11 attacks, War in Afghanistan, afghanistan war, christian davenport, impact of war, iraq war, magruder high school, rockville  
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I think it's great that the school is taking into account the fact that these kids might need to talk about what is happening, and then helping to increase their awareness.

Posted by: adrumble | April 21, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

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