What It Means to Be American
A National Conversation

Encounters

How Minnesota Teachers Invented a Proto-Internet More Centered on Community Than Commerce

In 1967, Eighteen School Districts Around the Twin Cities Created a Computing Network Connecting More Than 130,000 Students

by Joy Lisi Rankin

In 1971, three student-teachers in the Minneapolis public school system created the computer game The Oregon Trail for students in their American history class. In this game, players could imagine they were journeying from Missouri westward to the Pacific Ocean, in search of better lives. They had to manage supplies, battle illness and foul weather, and hunt for food to continue along the Trail. Working with rudimentary text-based computer interfaces, they typed “BANG” to hunt and answered questions—“Do you want …

Event
Places

How the U.S. Designed Overseas Cemeteries to Win the Cold War

From France to the Philippines, Stunning Landscapes of Infinite Graves Displayed American Sacrifice and Power

by Kate Clarke Lemay

Americans commemorate our fallen soldiers differently than other countries do. You can see the difference most clearly overseas. While innumerable war cemeteries in Europe and the Philippines account for the dead from all participating nations of World War I and World War II, only the American war cemeteries feature highly designed landscapes and major works of art and architecture.

The decision to build these monuments and place them in park-like cemeteries reflects the Cold War of the 1950s as much as …