Thursday, November 11, 2010


Much to my dismay, the little independent school where I teach keeps school open on Veterans’ Day, but this year I was somewhat pleased about it, because it caused me to consider, as I was waiting in my classroom for the students, the many connections we have to people from the past, including veterans. The fact is that the students and I are able to study Dickens’ sentences and enjoy stimulating discussions and sit at ease in my restful room day after day, only because of the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of people in past years. Countless anonymous heroes – unknown women and men who made being dutiful a day-after-day habit -- helped make a path down through the decades and centuries right to the door of my classroom. I’m thinking of “veterans” of all kinds – from the pioneers who put up the first houses on this property centuries ago, to the soldiers who served to save freedom for all of us, to the plumbers who prepared the drinking fountains we use each day, to the guys who get our school spotless each night so we can carry on our important work the next day. As we sit in my classroom and speak of appositives and writing styles and Dickens’ characters, we are imperceptibly linked to countless forces from all the years before – forces which found a way to make 8th grade English at a small school among pastures in Connecticut a possibility.

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