The opening lines of our National Anthem…”Oh say can you see….” brings on goose bumps whenever I hear these words at a public event. If the event includes jets flying overhead in formation, then my insides are raging with emotions. Most of this is unnoticeable to anyone around me and when the jets disappear, the song ends, and the cheering subsides, I have to quickly regain my composure. This has been my personal form of “private patriotism”.
As a Viet Nam Era Veteran, I have treated my military service just as many others who served during that time. There has not been much to talk about. My service was in the states including Alaska as was the case for those inductees entering the military in the early 1970s. Nearly four years later, being honorably discharged, I took off the uniform and returned to civilian life. I left most of my military memories and military friends on that discharge date at the gate. Many other veterans during this era did the same. I felt my patriotism for my country had been satisfied and proven and this was the start of my “private patriotism”.
In a couple of weeks, we will observe Veteran’s Day and I plan to have a few special features to share. First there is more to share about my “private patriotism” and how a second grader made me come face to face with this attitude about my service. I will also share how a couple of piano players in a bar did something to my “private patriotism” that never happened in 35 years.
Finally, as part of the special Veteran’s Day Post, I will introduce you to a dear friend who is a WWII veteran. At 99 years old, my friend together with other veterans, recently visited the WWII War Memorial in Washington, DC. So, do not miss this special tribute to Veteran’s Day.
Okay, some of you more critical thinkers may be wondering “How does all this relate to the Learning Center and “Friends of Copey”? The answer is very simple. It is connected to my lifelong interest in education and the multitude of experiences I have had in my life. When my military draft notice arrived calling me to serve my country, I was a certified elementary school teacher employed in the Maryland school system as a 5th grade teacher. Teaching was my chosen career then and I was being ordered to leave this career and fulfill my military obligation. I did as ordered but my interest in education never changed even though I have had other occupations. This interest helps drive my passion for the students in the Learning Center. So you could say that before I was a veteran, I was first a school teacher and very proud to be both!
I am really looking forward to the next several weeks of Posting and hope you will stay connected as I work on completely ridding myself of “private patriotism”.