Because he's done it nearly 1,000 times, you've no doubt heard him belt out the National Anthem at an Avalanche game. Or maybe you're a fan of his iconic local funk band, Opie Gone Bad. But Jake Schroeder's talent and interests extend far beyond his singing. A lifelong history buff, Schroeder is Executive Director of the D-Day Leadership Academy - a nonprofit organization that teaches our youngest generations lessons about the character and ethics of the Greatest Generation. The immersive history program centers around the events of June 6, 1944 and how the young men of the Allied troops saved the world that day. After weeks of leadership curriculum that focuses on specific stories from D-day, Jake accompanies students to Sainte Mere Eglise, Normandy, where students can see first hand the sites of WWII and meet French citizens who remain grateful for US involvement. The Academy offers programs to middle and high school students, law enforcement and corporate groups which fund scholarships that allow under-resourced kids to participate as well.
Jake is currently in Normandy, sprucing up the 400-year old house that serves as home base for the Academy so it's ready when student trips are relaunched in 2022. He took a few minutes to talk with us about the critical importance of history education and libraries.
What's the last great book you read?
Forgotten by Linda Hervieux. It details the struggles and heroism of African American soldiers in the battle for Europe in WWII. The true mistreatment of these men isn't widely known, and neither is their incredible service fighting the Germans while also fighting their own country's racism.
What are you Currently Reading?
The Art of War by Sun Tzu. It's brilliant in its simplicity.
What do you plan to read next?
Mission France by Kate Vigurs. It's about female secret agents that were dropped into France during WWII. Some of the stories I have previewed are incredible.
What Author would you most like to meet?
P.J. O'Rourke. I think he's brilliantly funny
How have you used the Denver Public Library?
I spent many hours there with my oldest daughter when I lived on Capitol Hill. I'd walk down Colfax, with her on my shoulders. We'd stop in for lunch at the Walnut Cafe, then we'd visit Central where she would run up and down the aisles, pick out books, and then we'd just sit and read. It is one of my favorite memories of that time.
What do you think is the most important role of public libraries in our current times?
We simply must have access to everything. We're competing with both phones and ideology that somehow tell us there are books we shouldn't read. All books, even with the repugnant language of their times need to be read. We won't learn anything if we can't see the bad as well as the good.