Tuesday, November 11, 2008
VETERANS DAY WITH MY STUDENTS
I celebrated and remembered Veterans Day with my students today. I made a PowerPoint listing all our nation's wars along with the number who served and died in those wars. I explained to them the meaning of serving your country in a war and what it meant to them as Americans that these men and women sacrificed for them. Too many Americans do not understand that the freedoms we enjoy were bought and preserved with the sacrifice, blood, and sometimes the lives of these heroes.
I wanted them to realize that they are able to enjoy their lives and pursue their dreams because dedicated men and women put their dreams on hold and in too many cases, gave up their dreams. It was touching to see the looks on their faces as they listened and absorbed the sheer numbers of brave Americans who have lost their lives in America's wars. There was no shortage of tears as they realized the gift of freedom that has been given to them by the sacrifices of so many.
I showed this video to every class. The students sat transfixed by the emotions they were feeling. I told about my experiences in the military. I was able to show them pictures of an 18 year old me in uniform as I prepared to leave for SEA. I tried my best to describe to them my emotions at the time and to describe the feelings of soldiers. My feelings were mixed because I was worried about being too intense for them. I wanted to impress upon them that war is not a glorious undertaking. It is a necessary evil and the soldiers mainly worry about survival more than anything else. I told them my wish for them was that there would never be another war and that I hoped they could live their lives without that clouding their future. I told them I want them to be able to achieve their dreams and that war gets in the way of that.
As the class ended a lot of students rushed forward to tell me stories of their relatives who had been in the military and I enjoyed sharing their stories. I think I achieved my goal for the class and that was to educate the students about their great good fortune to be Americans and to never forget the sacrifices of millions upon millions of Americans that keeps them free. I asked them to please remember the images they saw today of the sacrifice of so many heroes who lie in graveyards all over the world. AND TO REMEMBER TO THANK EVERY VETERAN AND SOLDIER FOR THEIR SACRIFICE AND THE GIFT OF BEING AMERICANS WHO ARE FREE.