Nothing I can say will keep soldiers from being killed today. Nothing I can say will bring comfort to the families of those who have lost loved ones in the past. But I can do my part and show them the honor that they deserve.
One of the assignments I always gave, when we studied the Civil War, was to have our 4th and 5th graders memorize the Gettysburg Address. I did it on a contract basis, with different numbers of points available, based on how much of the speech they could say in front of the class. If they said the whole speech from memory, with feeling and expression, they earned the equivalent of two 100's on test scores. Our Special Ed students participated, as well, with the decision being made by their own teachers as to what was a reasonable goal for each of them individually to achieve to earn their 100.
We spent a lot of class time going over the speech, explaining each sentence, giving it meaning and expression. By the time they had to say it for a grade, it was always impressive to hear these youngsters proudly stand and offer their memorial to not only those long ago dead, but to all those who have died since in the name of Freedom.
I'm getting chill bumps now just thinking about how well they did. Those students grew up to be the parents of today, and some of them are in the military now.
"It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced."I'd like to think that the legacy of those lessons I taught over the years will live on in the hearts of my ex students, as they lead more patriotic lives. If they have, maybe I have done my part to honor Veteran's Day.
nostalgia, Veteran's Day, Gettysburg Address, Freedom, Patriotism