As a high school sophomore entering the summer before my junior year, I certainly wouldn’t have considered reading a 700-page book about American history the acme of my summertime plans. Reluctantly, I obliged, only to dive into one of the most eye-opening literary experiences of my life: Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. This unforgettable assignment came from Joseph Moniaci, my AP American History teacher at Valley Stream North High School, a brilliant man who has come to be more than just a teacher but also a mentor and friend.
Joseph’s inimitable talents as a teacher for more than 17 years have consistently inspired other students to pursue their historical and literary interests. He has been nominated for the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” and highlighted as a “Featured Teacher” by a local publication, the Valley Stream Central High School District Observer. And now we can add Moniaci to another list he certainly belongs on: famous Bay Ridge residents. (He has lived in the neighborhood for 17 years.) Moniaci is the star of the American Heroes Channel’s new series What History Forgot, forever chasing hidden agendas and seeking veiled truths.
In each episode, he discloses four historical incidents that have otherwise fallen through the cracks—until now. Is the Star Spangled Banner based on a drinking song? Is there really a hidden bomb shelter inside the Brooklyn Bridge? The only way to find out is to tune into this great show—not only to satisfy your taste for historical tidbits, but also to support a great local educator.
I asked Moniaci how this experience has been for him thus far. “I am very excited to share these stories with a wider audience. I am grateful to Atlas Media Corp. and AHC for the opportunity I have been given. I had a great time meeting with historians and experts and visiting historical sites,” he wrote by email. “I hope to get the chance to make more episodes.”
What History Forgot airs Tuesdays at 10pm on the American Heroes Channel. (Ch. 140 on Time Warner, Ch. 125 on FiOS, Ch. 287 on DirecTV. More info here.)
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