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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Memorial Day 2017


As we approach another Memorial Day weekend, I often worry that these significant days are not covered enough in schools.  I hope students realize that they are not just "days off of school," weekends for sales and parties, but days that deserve reflection and even action.

You may have noticed the pictures in the room of classmates that I have lost serving our country.  Some of you may have heard me tell stories about them, and I have listened to many of your stories as well.  You may have noticed from time to time I wear a bracelet that my grandmother gave me in high school, before I went to a week of JROTC training during the summer.
These bracelets were sold in the '90s to raise money for the New Jersey Vietnam Memorial and Museum, located off the Garden State Parkway.  if any of you have been there, I'd love to read about it in the comments or hear about it in class.  These "KIA" bracelets have the name of New Jersey service men and women who lost their lives serving in Vietnam.  For many years I knew nothing about LCPL Firth's name and the date of his death.  But since it was recently the 50th anniversary of his passing, and since Google has come around since I was in High School, I was able to find out more about him.  
The first thing I discovered was a young face to the name I wore all these years.  I learned the town where he grew up in, the names of his parents and siblings.  I learned where he died in Vietnam.  I learned that he earned several decorations, including the Purple Heart medal.  I also learned that he was only 21 years old.  It seems that with every discovery, every event in the news, every day that passes, this bracelet has much more meaning.

For this blog post, I invite you to research about another service man or woman from New Jersey who lost their life serving our country.  It can be from recent or from early American history.  Each one will be significant.  Please do not just copy and paste a biography you find on-line, but take time to read it, reflect on it, and share what learning about it means to you.