In a world engulfed in turmoil, most notably now in such separate areas of the world as Russia and Israel, it was my distinct honor to meet with a group of students at Medfield JHS here in this historic Bay State – as a celebration of Veterans Day 2023. My travels have included time in both of these afore-mentioned lands.
It is difficult to express the pleasure it was to receive questions from Connie Doolan’s class.
Above and beyond the curiosity and sensitivity they displayed, their respect was personally moving.
Including my Irish immigrant father and two older brothers, I was the fourth in my immediate family to wear this nation’s uniform. We were all proud of our great history and what this country stood for in three different international conflicts.
These students’ curiosity and appreciation was not only heart-warming, but a tribute to their parents – and a dedicated teacher.
Those of us who were not required to shed our own blood are committed to never forget the ones in uniform who made the supreme sacrifice. This requires that youth receive an honest rendition of veterans’ perceptions during their tenures of service and their world travel.
Having been afforded the opportunity to witness life in many parts of this globe, I was able to give students my remembrances of people viewed behind the Iron Curtain of Marxist Communism, as well as witnessing the glaring inequalities seen in Apartheid South Africa.
Needless to say, one’s views of life and politics are shaped by these past opportunities.
Fortunately, in answer to a student’s question, i could agree that the visit to the pyramids of Giza in Eygpt now provide fonder memories.
In retrospect, however, the awe-inspired feeling on entering the harbor of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil from the Atlantic Ocean is on a par. It still evokes a feeling of warmth and strength combined, a not-to-common one in our contemporary society.
Judging from the students’ questions and the very well-illustrated notes of appreciation which they sent, one is left with the impression that our educational settings are positively tuned. This, essentially in a troubled world, is what must be retained.
Having viewed societies on five continents, none was ever based on a firmer foundation than our own. Its original intent must continue to be this bedrock!
This Democratic Republic, which our U.S. Constitution established, has to be honored in practice, and sadly, in many instances, it has not.
The Preamble of the Declaration of Independence was not idly written – nor was the U.S. Constitution’s establishment of the checks-and-balances system with three distinct branches. We must never dishonor our relatives and fellow citizens who paid the supreme sacrifice of their lives to assure this nation’s and the world’s survival.
Hand-held and shoulder-fired weapons were treated with the utmost of respect in the military, which is quite different from how they are depicted in the mass media. My 16 consecutive weeks of basic training with the 101st Airborne Division reflected this firmly, and it has been a life-long asset.
Heroes are plentiful in our history, but we are not them. Those who were called to give their lives are to be always remembered – and honored.
With well-intentioned youngsters such as these students, there is no reason to do otherwise.
We are convinced they never will.
May God Bless THEM AND THE NATION which they have inherited.© R.T. Neary
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.