Friday, November 11, 2011


"Poppies by the Roadside", oil, by Karen Margulis
Yesterday our entire school sat down and made paper poppies to show our appreciation for the indispensable work our veterans do, and it started me speculating, surprisingly enough, about the relative unimportance of prepositions. Over the years, I have spent endless numbers of hours teaching supposedly essential topics like prepositions, but it all seemed inconsequential yesterday as I thought about our servicemen and women waging peace around the world. Yes, I know that knowledge of the ins-and-outs of our language will be beneficial to my students, but, in the bigger picture, it fades in comparison to the crucial life-and-death efforts our veterans are, and always have been, engaged in. While my students and I sit in ease and safety in Room 2, women and men around the globe are giving themselves to the task of taking good care of our freedom. While we discuss whether we need a comma or a semicolon in some sentence, soldiers and sailors far from their homes are helping America remain free. I have always wondered why my small independent school insists on having school on Veterans Day, but perhaps its because we can bring some understanding to the students of just how special the role of veterans is. Perhaps I can remind my students today that the use of prepositions in essays is an utterly frivolous topic when set beside the essential lives and deaths of the veterans we honor.

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