Archive for Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A day to remember

May 22, 2013

Next Monday, the nation will pause to honor those who have gone before us and created the greatest country in the history of the world. Certainly, the emphasis is on those who sacrificed their lives in our continuing struggle for freedom. Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day was started after the U. S. Civil War to honor those who died in that bloody conflict. However it was later expanded to honor all those who gave their lives in the service of our country.

It is fitting that we annually remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. I doubt that there is a family in the United States who has not lost a loved one in one of our nation’s conflicts. We must never forget what they did for our country. We also honor all of those who served over the years and those who have suffered serious wound. It is sad that many think of Memorial Day as the “start of summer” and don’t even take a moment to remember its real meaning.

The Bonner Springs Cemetery is always well decorated for the holiday with flags and, of course, flowers. I would urge everyone to drive by and see the pride, reverence and respect shown at the cemetery.

In addition, we need to pause and remember the family and friends who have passed away. We need to remember what they have contributed to our lives and pledge ourselves to never forget.

As I was pondering the meaning of Memorial Day, it occurred to me that none of us is “an island” and that we owe a huge debt to those who have mentored us throughout our lives. If we stop to think about it, there are dozens outside our families who have contributed to our success.

I remember when I was a high school freshman an English teacher, Hazel Pullman called me in and I was shocked when she complimented my ability to write. She saw something in me that I didn’t know existed. She thought I could be a writer and she had me join the newspaper staff as the “freshman” reporter. The opportunity to write opened a whole new world to me.

I got a job working for the “Anderson Countian” newspaper where I learned to be a printer in addition to improving my writing skills. There were several who mentored me and in some cases “put up with me”. I also worked at the Ottawa “Herald” where old time journalists helped me and taught me how to take and develop photos.

Probably the mentor who did the most for me was Ed Schowalter who was my boss at BPU. He gave me lots of opportunities to learn and was always there to help. Ed was truly a great man who meant a lot to me. When I went into the weekly newspaper business, Ed would write me with some great suggestions that I incorporated as part of the publication.

The list of those who helped me grow up is very long. It includes Scoutmasters, coaches and college professors. I’m sure that if you stopped to think about it, you could list many men and women who gave you the confidence and knowledge to be successful.

Yes, we owe thanks to many and there is a way to repay their kindness and to honor their memory. We need to “pay it forward” by doing all that we can to help the next generation. The most important way that you can help is support them with encouragement. It is a great way to honor those who helped us during our lives.


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