LETTERS

 

NOW THIS IS A TEACHER!

In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a History teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock , did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in her classroom.

When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.

'Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?'

She replied, 'You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.'

They thought, 'Well, maybe it's our grades' 'No,' she said.

'Maybe it's our behavior.' She told them, 'No, it's not even your behavior.'

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom. Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television news crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom. Martha Cothren said, 'Throughout the day, no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom Now I am going to tell you.'

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) US. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, 'You didn't earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have. Now, it's up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don't ever forget it.'

By the way, this is a true story. And this teacher was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006. She is the daughter of a WWII POW.

Do you think this is worthy of being passed along so others won't forget either, that the freedoms we have in this great country were earned by our U.S Veterans?... I do.

Let us always remember the men and women of our military and the rights they have won for us.

You and your classmates throughout the country have more political power than any group in the nation. Your generation could set a pattern for fifty or sixty years of honest, conscientious, and responsive governing. Don't listen to those who say that the energy and determination will pass.

My name is Jim Hamm, and even at 82, I am encouraged. Broaden your scope and never give up.

Please take the time to forward this letter to anyone who will listen to this message.

My Response to Mary, April 9,2019

Yes, Martha Cothren is a teacher. Reading the story got to me. I welled up. (I know you won't believe it coming from a guy who annually gives up sarcasm for Lent and his best score is 9:12 pm on Ash Wednesday.)

For my children and grandkids, this has become require reading, when they get back from Disneyland, of course.

This kind of "ignorance" goes far beyond the classroom and students. I often hear business owners and billionaires, whether from Green Point Brooklyn or Gross Point, Michigan, claim that they built their companies with their hard work, sacrifice, and intellect. Are they really "ignorant" of the 240 years of our history - toil, blood, sacrifice, perseverance, and genius that cleared the land, dug the foundation, erected the protective walls and roof, and provided the conveniences for their successes. Do they ever think about the unrecognized millions whose bones reside at the bottom of oceans, in forest and jungles, in marked and unmarked graves who drove the nail, laid the cobblestone, fired the rifle, flew the bomber, stood tall in the face of adversity, or cast a deciding vote at their political peril. Is there ever a thought of the employees who perform daily -- sweeping the floors, oiling the wheels, building the spreadsheets, etc.

We all take too much for granted giving little credit to the individuals influences in our lives and the broad freedoms, protections, and opportunities that our country provides. Does Mitch McConnell realize that without the TVA, he would be inching toward the outhouse with a whale oil lantern. Without the interstate highway system, a small business might be a mom-and-pop food wagon with a musical horn parked outside a construction site. We are so lucky. Oh, yeah, there was WWII, the rebuilding of Europe, Japan, and the world economy, the G. I. Bill, the space program, the internet, etc.

Do we realize that without the strength of individuals and the conscience of our democracy we could be sharing a border with a Confederation of slave states.

Enuff.

Say Nothing came today. I'm eager to get at it. Thanks

 

MEMORIAL DAY MESSAGE 2018 / 2019 / 2020 / 2021

2021 MEMORIAL DAY MESSAGE

Summer really begins on Memorial Weekend. The BBQ is burnished and fueled, the camping gear has been aired, and the reservations have been made. After a year of covid, anxiety prevails. Some of us of a more sedentary nature will line the streets for a parade or plant flags at local cemeteries or visit memorials honoring those who have sacrificed for our democratic principles.

In the light of recent and ongoing events we need to take a closer look at the meaning Memorial Day. Some of us know of the extreme heroism of individuals like MSGT Roy Benavidez (This YouTube video will blow you away - "Roy Benavidez MOH speech.")

Many of us know of the heroism of the 101st Airborne at Bastogne from the Ken Burns' documentary "Band of Brothers." But, few of us know of the Battle of Elsenborn Ridge at the Battle of the Bulge.

Prior to the Battle of the Bulge the "untested" 99th Infantry Division was posted on Elsenborn Ridge, an area that would be unlikely to see combat; however, the Germans, in planning their drive toward Antwerp, saw good roads and a series of supply dumps as a rapid way to the Belgium seaport. Elsenborn Ridge and the 99th stood in the way.

These American had probable entered the military in late 1943 or some in early 1944. Although highly trained, most American soldiers on Elsenborn Ridge were not professional military and had never heard a shot fired in anger. The Germans coming at them, on the other hand, were the elite, combat hardened troops with a 6:1 ratio. The 99th were just months away from being clerks, laborers, accountants, waiters, teachers, cooks -- blue collar Americans who loved and appreciated their country and did they show it. They were asked to man a line of one infantryman every 300 feet. And did they man it. They delayed and then stopped the German advance, taking 20% casualties. Six were awarded the Medal of Honor - - Pfc Jose Lopez, 32, Sgt Richard Cohen, 22, Sgt Truman Kimbo, 25, Sgt Vernon McGarity, 31, Pvt William Sodeman, 33, and Cpl Henry Warner, 21. How many more have gone unrecognized?

Watch the YouTube video of Roy Benavides and Google Elsenborn Ridge. Memorial Day will mean more to you.

For parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, all relatives, and friends who have lost someone in one of our wars, the day they remember is the day they received the devastating news. They remember the time, the place, and the emotional impact.

For those of us who fortunately have not suffered such a loss, we have Memorial Day. Before our thoughts meander toward bar-b-cues and beaches and an early start on Summer, we just might google American Battle Monuments Commission or John Basilone (Whenever I think of this American hero, I can't help thinking of all the other John Basilones who are interred or are among the MIAs and whose deeds were and are unrecognized.) Or, you might just visit Preston Sharp on Sixty Minutes.

For a ten or fifteen minute investment, your life will be enriched a hundred fold. And, Memorial Day may never slip passed you again.

All too frequently the last Monday in May with its barbecues, baseball games and mini-vacations masks the meaning of the Day. And, all too frequently the remembrances are gender based. The sacrifices made in the last 240+ years for our great nation and freedom everywhere can never be understated and the individuals can never be under-revered. This year let us take a look at our heroines . Google Ruby Bradley or Aleda Lutz or Nancy Wake or Krystyna Skarbek or Lyudmila Pavlichenko or Princess Noor Inayat Kahn. Or, you could go back to my favorite, Sophie Scholl.

A NOW OPEN LETTER TO A FRIEND ON A COMPARISON OF NORMANDY AND PELELIU, UNRECOGNIZED HEROISM, AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND APPRECIATION OF WHAT WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN, AND THE ROLE OF BIG GOVERNMENT IN OUR GOOD FORTUNE, ALL WHILE RECOGNIZING WHAT WE NEED TO DO FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. (Written in response to his complimentary response to the "First Wave.")

Bill, I read it (reference to a book he recommended). Whenever Peleliu comes to mind, my stomach turns. I cannot forget or forgive MacArthur and others at the waste of good lives on that piece of dirt. Many of the planners objected to the invasion because we didn't need it. After the original decision to invaded and early on when we recognized the problem, we could have left the defenders there to starve. And, we could have used Peleliu as a dumping ground when our bombers were returning to base with bombs they were unable to drop.

We all have heard of and recognize the heroism of the "private" who fell on the grenade saving his buddies, but few know of the details of the "first wave" and fewer of us recognize the losses, individual and family, that took place on that day. The necessity of the heroic sacrifice of "first wave" gave the "second wave," "third wave" and "fourth wave" the chance to survive, triumph, and be recognized. The numbers reported (10,000 casualties, 4,141 KIA) on D-Day do not cut if for me. Even though we will never know his name, we need to recognize the heroism of the third guy in line on the port side of Higgins Boat #6, Able Company, 29th Division, 116th Infantry.

Nothing irks me more than today's punk-assed entrepreneurs who say, "I built my company by myself. It was my hard work, intelligence, and sacrifice that made this company."

How is it possible that they can ignore our Founding Fathers and the 240 years of challenges, sacrifices, successes, failures, and resets, all done within the framework of our Constitution on the shoulders of big government.

the Louisiana Purchase,

the land grants to encourage exploration and settlement,

the railroads,

abolition and reunification,

the TVA (Without it Mitch McConnell would be visiting his outhouse in the middle of the night with a kerosene lantern.) and other dams and water control projects,

a variety of transportation projects - airports, harbors, interstate highways, etc.,

WWII to save the world,

a financial system (not perfect) that promotes class mobility,

labor rights, individual rights, voting rights, civil rights, etc.

safety nets - Social Security, Unemployment, Medicare

I'm sure I missed much, but like our great democratic experiment, we all are Works-in-Progress.

Boy, did that feel good.

 

A Short Biography of Donald J. Trump

A liar, cheat, philanderer, and all-around rapscallion

A child of privilege who began at the age of two receiving annual trust contributions that continued throughout his adulthood, along with gifts, loans (never repaid), including the purchase of 3.5m worth of casino chips that were never cashed. The total, over 400 million.

For high school Trump attended Benedict Arnold Military Academy where he majored in Draft Dodging and minored in Bone Spurs. Later he graduated from the Wharton School with a Bachelor of Science, not the MBA he would have you believe. This clarification will be included in the Wharton Business School's next MBA brochure.

His life's associations and achievements are themed - sex and power - encouraged by insensitivity and ignorance. Howard Stern acted his spiritual advisor and procurer. Jeffrey Epstein provided him with a bosom buddy, pun intended. He relished his role as "Lecher in Chief" of the Miss America Pageants. He enhanced his reputation and gained skills as "The Bankruptcy Guru." He fit naturally in the role of the "Bully Boss" of The Apprentice. And, he created the title of "Keeper of the Secret Server" that contains his academic records, his tax returns, and his crazy seditious telephone conversations.

And, he's our president! Jim Hamm Google____THEYCANTWECAN.COM

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