James Monroe Middle School history teacher Leif Liberg is researching the life of Ensign George Hopper and is looking for help telling this hero’s story as part of the Understanding Sacrifice program. Produced by National History Day® and sponsored by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) and the National Cemetery Administration, the program takes 18 educators from around the country on a journey of learning and discovery. By researching the story of an American service member who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, program participants can be the voice of these Americans who died decades ago.
Liberg will deliver a eulogy for Ensign Hopper at the Honolulu Memorial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in July. But, before he can do this, he needs help from those who may have known this Fallen Hero. Ensign Hopper lived in Banning, California.
“I discovered that Ensign Hopper joined the Navy in the Spring of 1941 after studying at San Bernardino Valley Union Junior College, where he was captain of the men's gymnastics team. After receiving his wings, Ensign Hopper flew in the Battle of the Coral Sea before being killed in action during a combat mission at the Battle of Midway in 1942,” Liberg said. “I would like to find family or friends that could tell me more about his life before the Navy as well as his experiences in the service.”
If you have any information about Ensign George Hopper please contact Liberg at LCLiberg@gmail.com.
The Understanding Sacrifice program was created to reinvigorate WWII teaching in the classroom. It is a partnership between National History Day, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, and the American Battle Monuments Commission. To learn more about the program, visit