Friday, May 27, 2005

Tough Lesson

Do some days just fly by and you can't remember what you did or anything about that day? Do you ever stop and think about the things you forget to think about? Does that question make sense? There are a lot a luxuries that I have, and I have come to expect them. I'm spoiled, just ask Shar.

School is out now, but I am thinking about my teaching now that I am on break. I am realizing that I have favorite things to teach. I spend more time on topics I like than I do on other "less important" items in history. It's natural I think to do that.

I enjoy teaching the wars of history. Peloponnesian Wars, Punic Wars, French Rev. I like trying to explain the magnitude and importance of those wars and others to 15 year old kids. As you can imagine it does not always go very well. The point I try to make in every war taught is that the people fighting those wars were real people. That sounds silly, but kids today are learning about war for "Saving Private Ryan", and when Tom Hanks dies at the end they know he is not really dead. I want them to realize that thousands of soldiers died on that beach, and in those fields. I want them to look at the wars of ancient days and feel the fear of those men running at each other with a sword and a shield. I want the kids to know that sons and brothers and dads have been dying in wars for thousands of years, and moms, wives and sisters have mourned their lost ones. It is tough to explain that to a kid.

Memorial Day has been around since the end of the Civil War. It was called Decoration Day then, but the concept was there and the tradition of the Memorial Day that we know grew mainly after World War 1. In 1971 it was made the official holiday that we now celebrate, remembering all American soldiers that lost their lives.

This Memorial Day I choose to remember those that have given their lives in service of our country and those who made it home. I remember Sharla's Grandfather, and Great Uncles Hal Marks, Mann Strawn and J.D. Trout who all made it home from WW 2. I remember Jack Mankin and John Venegoni and Seth Simmons and Kyle Citty at church, and Steve Speck who is one of my dad's oldest friends. I remember Darren Keys in the Naval Reserve and Kevin Clinton who left college during the first Iraq war. I remember my dad's goods friends from my childhood; Randy Dunn who was a Navy Seal, C.T. Allen, Chuck Miller, and my dad's good friend and C.O. John Dewar. I think of Coach Williams at Belton High who serves in the Reserve, and Zack Newkirk who played football for me. He just joined the Navy, and Jade Belew who was in our youthgroup at church. She also joined the Navy. I remember Wes Fortenberry who lost his life in Iraq last year. He was an Apache Pilot in the Army. He and his family were members at Western Hills. Mostly I remember my dad, who served his country for 26 years in the Navy, survived 13 months of war, a combined total of 4 years away from his family, and a tough career. I am thankful this Memorial Day that I can tell him thank you and that I love him, and that I will not have to decorate his tomb.

Find a soldier this weekend. Old or young, retired or fresh out of boot camp, and tell that soldier thanks for doing their job. They choose to sacrifice for the greater good of this country. They don't always like it, but they do their job and I appreciate that in everyone of them.

Happy Memorial Day. Thank you.

My apologies for any soldiers that I should have mentioned but forgot during this blog.


J-Wild said...

I remember my Grandfather who served for three years in WWII. I think of Adam Parish (ACU Alum) who is a SeaHawk Pilot in the Navy and stationed in Japan. I think of Ryan Pace (Harding Alum) and apache helicopter pilot who served 18 months in Iraq as an Apache helicopter pilot.

Thank You!

Jana said...

I really appreciate this post, Byron. Does anyone celebrate or honor our veterans anymore? I think most of us just tend to gloss over the real meaning of the holiday. Thanks for doing the opposite...and thanks for remembering Darren!

Anonymous said...

I want to say "thanks" to my Dad, Grandpa George, Dave's Uncle Bobby, Grandfather Bob-Bob, cousins Garrick and Phillip, Aaron Webb, Mel Kelder, Brad Rudder, Keith Donnelly.. when you serve, your entire life is on hold for you, and yet when you return everyone has gone on without you..schooling is set back, wives have babies without you, those babies say their first words in a letter or email. You lose more than comfort; you lose time. Something that, in an acutely obvious way, you can never get back. So thank you to all the veterans, giving their lives.God return to you "the years that the locust have eaten.", blessing you abundantly. May we spend the days that you have purchased well.