Saturday, November 11, 2006

My Veteran's Day Memories

Today is the day that we honor all those men and women who are serving now, or have served in the past, to protect our freedoms. When I think about all of the blog posts that can so easily be found that ridicule the president and others in office, or that disagree vehemently with our government's policy on everything from the Iraqi war to stem cell research, I count myself blessed to live in a country where free speech is so well guarded and protected.

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."

Abraham Lincoln
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.

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8 comments:

Chana said...

i'm too very grateful for all the families who have given up not just their love one's life but for all the family time missed..

for all the men/women out there who all through the years sacrifice it all for the sake in humanity.

we are here for what the ones that came before us did. and i'm grateful.

God Bless the world and grant it peace and may we accept it-finally.

Dirty Butter said...

A prayer worth repeating, Chana. May God bless the world and grant it peace. Amen!

Anonymous said...

I think we as a country learned a lesson from Vietnam as far as giving honor and respect to our men and women in uniform. I like it better this way.

Dirty Butter said...

You're right, Shelia. That was a shameful period in our history, and I'm not talking about the war. Our society in general treated the veterans of that war as if they were the scum of the earth. It took a long time for those wrongs to be admitted and an attempt made to rectify the situation. I would be shocked if that ever happens again, no matter how the public feels about the conflict they fought in.

jan said...

Good post. I'm afraid too often classrooms are used to show the alleged brutality of our ancestors and to try to expose some of the weaknesses the teachers see in the country. That only serves to confuse students.

Dirty Butter said...

Discussing the flaws of our government would be appropriate topics in middle and high school, but not in 4th and 5th grade. They need a solid grasp of the events that formed our country's value system, before they start learning about its weaknesses, IMVHO.

Chana said...

they have taken so much out of schools..God for once, values and morals followed. it seems what i would want as the priority is not often found..

i wish history was taught in a way to show what we don't want to repeat again and not in a way to glorify the mistakes of the past..

i'm sickened when i see all around the world kids do stupid things like defend the monsters of the past like Hitler..freedom of speech and other ways, these kids and many others learn things backwards..we have had 3 teachers in the last couple of yrs be fired, re-hired and convited of wrong teachings..in our schools hon, in our schools they were glorifying these mosnters..until the parents caught wind of it..

We need to be more included in our kids education and lifes..if not other influences will take our place.

Dirty Butter said...

Chana, how horrible to have to worry about what your children's teachers are teaching! As you say, though, the only solution is to stay closely involved in your schools. Private school parents do that, and public school parents need to do it, too.

As for religion and morals, it's really up to the parents to instill those values in their children long before the schools get hold of them, and to continue to uphold those values throughout their formative years. "Train up a child while he is young, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Prov:22.6