Wednesday, November 11, 2009

VETERANS DAY IN SCHOOL

I celebrated Veterans Day in class today with my students. I talked about my family and our service, talked about the millions of veterans who have given their lives so that we can live in freedom. My first comment was that I considered Veterans Day to be the most important holiday because it makes all the others possible. They got that.

One teacher walked his entire class down to mine and thanked me for my service. Each student shook my hand and thanked me. I was thrilled by that and it was hard to keep from crying. I've had almost every one of those students in class and that was one of the truly coolest things that has ever happened to me.

I don't often talk about my family in a personal way with my students, but they seemed to very much enjoy sharing my story with me. I told them I didn't do it because I wanted to be a hero, I did it because I wanted the service and sacrifice to be personal to them. I felt great pride in talking about my grandfather, my uncle, my father-in-law, and my father and their courageous service to America.

The message I wanted to leave them with was that they should be proud and above all, grateful to be Americans. Despite the constant drumbeat of negativism about our country, millions still flock to America because it is still seen as the true beacon of freedom. America is still the destination of the wretched refuse of the world who reach our teeming shores yearning to breathe free.

I think they got the message and they are grateful to be Americans. And so am I.

5 comments:

Pamela D. Hart said...

LAOT: Well, you brought tears to MY eyes! Thank you for your service to OUR beloved country and your continued service to our youth.

Bless you!

Brooke said...

Awesome!

Clearly, there is hope for the next generation!

Tonight, I will help a WWII serviceman w/ personal care as part of my current job, but I've got to say its an honor for me, and I LOVE hearing his war stories!

Law and Order Teacher said...

PDH,
Thanks for the visit. It nearly brought tears to my eyes. I was stunned and honored by their sincerity. My teacher was a stand-up guy for doing it.

Brooke,
Thanks for the visit. I admire your selflessness. It has to be a thrill to hear his stories and a thrill for him to have someone listen to him. Have you thought about the oral history project by the National Archives? I think they are always looking for participants.

Brooke said...

I hadn't thought about that.

One of the stories he likes to tell me: He was a medic, a LT at the time, and was out to find a few soldiers that were reported as injured. He got separated from his platoon and wandered onto a group of four Nazi soldiers that mistook him for one of their own; he took them as POWs. While marching them back, his own men took them all captive, assuming it was a group of five Nazis, and then quickly realized who he was and what he had done.

He also tells of attending to civilian and military casualties.

He's got a really funny story about how he got up early while stationed in France to go to the shower house and found that thirty or so of the women in the villiage where he was stationed snuck into the men's shower room to take a bath after their infrastructure was destroyed.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Brooke,
Who says there's no reward for the soldier?