Posted by: Gwendolyn Huber | May 27, 2014

Memorial

me·mo·ri·al

 adjective \mə-ˈmȯr-ē-əl\

: created or done to honor a person who has died or to remind people of an event in which many people died

1

:  serving to preserve remembrance :  commemorative

2

:  of or relating to memory

I’d like to send out a big thank-you to our veterans and their families for sacrifices made for our great country.

When I think of the word Memorial, I think of memory, when I think of memory, I think of stories.

My school K-8 was religious and patriotic and the both are linked together in my mind as – you are patriotic, you fight for your country, OR you go to hell.

As a kid in that elementary school, I don’t remember being read to, but I remember those Dick and Jane books in first grade and the second I realized that Jane saw Spot was a story.  From that moment on, I read everything I got my hands on. 

In middle school, my favorite class was English. You might think I loved English class because I finally I got the chance to learn about all the great things that made up the books I read and loved so passionately. In actuality, I learned some about the English language  but more about WWII.

 I loved English because Mr. Sherwood, a fiftyish WWII veteran, told stories, and I loved stories.

Today my memories of his class are condensed into a sense of freedom and terror of flying over enemy territory as pieces of burning planes fell past his windshield like autumn leaves and the intense relief of returning from war to his wife and baby son who peed on him like falling rain.

I often wish I’d learned more about English back then, but learning, as I did, of the power of story to educate, to heal, to attract the mind was priceless.

For High School, my parents sent me to a Mennonite school. Again my favorite class was one where the teacher told stories, music class this time. Life might have been easier if I’d actually learned more about music since that was my chosen college degree, but if I’m honest with myself, the stories I heard were probably worth the extra struggles in college. The stories formed me and continued to tune me in to the stories that each of us carries with us and the importance that they be told, and heard.

The Mennonites are pacifists – Conscientious Objectors, the very kind of people my K-8 school knew would go to hell. These Conscientious Objectors had stories of their part during the war, just as intense and full of pain as the stories of my pilot English teacher.

The lessons I carry from my K-12 experience are that there is rarely only one right way to live, everyone deserves respect, and everyone’s story’s need to be heard.

Since this is Memorial Day week, I suggest asking a veteran to tell you one of their life stories, or write a story in memory of a veteran who has passed. 

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