The other day, I, along with my class and other 2nd grade classrooms, (I have a feeling I’m using too many commas) had the honor of having a true American hero speak to us.
His name is Mr. Larry. He is retired from the U.S. Army, but is hardly lounging in Ft. Lauderdale watching the waves roll in from his retirement home. In fact, you’d hardly think he was retired when you met him. He is young, in shape (one of my students, “Check. out. his. MUSCLES. Geez louise!”), and is energetic enough to speak to around 60 7 and 8 year olds in an elementary school cafeteria before 9 a.m.
Oh, and by the way- he goes back to Iraq next week.
But you heard me say he’s retired…. he is retired. From the Army. He now works for the Defense Department as super-important job that I’m not going to embarrass myself trying to describe.
Oh, and his hearing isn’t so great anymore due to the huge amount of gunfire that he’s been exposed to for years.
Mr. Larry is a hero for many reasons. Some more obvious than others. As my class and I discussed, he is one for protecting us, leaving his wife & family so we are safe, and making sure we stay free.
But there were a few more not-so-textbook answer reasons why he’s a hero. I could think of was that he never complained once. Did I mention he goes back to Iraq in a few days (he’s been home for about 2 weeks)? And his hearing is fading? Here I am complaining that it’s raining. Gulp. Hey, reality check.
But he would say the same about indoor recess. I’m kidding. Kinda.
Mr. Larry answered every question (“How many wars have you been in?” “How cold is it in the winter?” “Did you know my Uncle so-and-so cause he’s over there too?”) with a smile and sometimes a chuckle. Of course, once one child mentioned a family member or friend who they knew in the military (grandfathers, cousins, neighbors, my mama’s sister’s uncle’s best friend), then every kiddo wanted to share a personal connection. He could have said, “Cool…. neat… Uh huh….” But he didn’t.
Every single time he said, “Really? Tell him or her I said thank you for their service.”
Mr. Larry, thank you for your service.