Uncle sam

Honored to be a Veteran

Today, it was my honor to speak at Salisbury Academy about Veterans Day and one of their core values - gratitude. From PreK through 8th grade, their minds were engaged and sought to understand the complexity of how our freedoms came to be. 

Now, what made this truly difficult was trying to keep the topic light-hearted while attempting to communicate the ultimate sacrifice our Veterans have paid and returning home to Valhalla.

During the weeks of preparation, I searched the Internet for videos and images to make the presentation more appealing. To say the least, showing a 5-year-old a video of a gun run, suppressive fire, breaching a door, a fellow comrade being attended to by a medic or a drill sergeant putting someone in their place is not the preferred tactic.

So, how did I pull this one off?

Then, it hit me. Kids love to make their own choices. So, my presentation ended up something like this: 

In the morning, you wake up, put your clothes on and take off to school. You had a variety of options for food and clothing to start things off right. During class, the tools you need are in front of you, the teachers care about you, and they protect you. Throw all the worries out the window and go enjoy recess. 

Next, I put things into perspective. By a show of hands, how many of you like: to eat what you want, sleep 10 hours at night, watch TV, vacation, see your family every night, hang out with friends, and feel safe while doing all of this. Not surprising, but all of them. 

Taking their responses, I quickly made them understand that a Veteran never has the option to say no, to lay down when things are tough, sleep when they are tired, separated from your family for months and sometimes years, facing a bully that doesn't like you every day, and just trying to make it home.

In closing, I requested that each of them show gratitude to the men and women who have served and currently serving to keep our country and others safe from bullies. 

Let us never forget.