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August
23
2008
10:56 pm
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I spoke of “fluff” on yesterday’s post, and so for this post I am providing a recycling of an email I received and providing less analysis ahead of time. I think I just improved my efficiency by 267,900%!

Snopes has the full story (which is true) if interested in actually researching the backstory.  You know, if fact-checking is important to you or something.  I completely realize that most Obama supporters probably won’t click the link.

Yeah, I know.  That was low.  But it was pretty darn funny in my head as I typed it.  I’m still laughing!  I crack myself up!

Anyway, on to the content of the email.  I got a lump in my throat as I read it, but that’s just how I am.

A Lesson That Should Be Taught In All Schools

Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school 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 out of her classroom. When the 1st period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.

Looking around, confused, they asked, “Ms. Cothren , where’re our desks?

She replied, “You can’t have a desk until you tell me what you have done to 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.

By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms. Cothren’s classroom 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 deskless classroom.
Martha Cothren said, “Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/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) U.S. Veterans, all in uniforms, 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. 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.

Follow-up  What Is A Veteran?

A ‘Veteran‘ — whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve — is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The United States of America,” for an amount of “up to, and including his life.”

That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact.

Now for the question you knew was coming:

What would YOU write a blank check for?

And lo, the people did comment thus:

21 Comments

  1. Winter says:

    My dad was a veteran of WWII. He was in New Guinea with MacArthur as a scout for the counter intelligence corps. I never forget what others have died to give us. As for my blank check… there’s one thing in my life I’d write that for… Motley.

    Winters last blog post..Cupcakes!

  2. Avitable says:

    I’m sorry, but I think that dying for anyone other than your loved ones is a lost cause in our current state of bloated government, no matter which party is in charge. I’m patriotic, but I’m not a nationalist.

    I’d write a blank check to myself. That’s it.

    Avitables last blog post..Sunday’s my day of rest.

  3. Dave2 says:

    Because fact-checking is so important here at Blog of Whall…

    Dave2s last blog post..Childcare

  4. metalmom says:

    I was once asked by the CIA if I would trust my neighbor with the life of my president. (He was applying for a post with security at Camp David) I replied that I trusted him with the lives of my children. (He had been my babysitter for 5 years) I felt that my kids were more important than the president.
    I believed that then, and I believe that now. I’d do anything for my kids.
    *and yes, my neighbor got the position.

    metalmoms last blog post..I’m Grinning Ear to Ear!

  5. marilyn says:

    I think that was a good lesson and I think that you goaded all of us Obama supporters into spending an extra five minutes on this post.

    My brother is a veteran of the Iraq war, and I know he chose military service for his country, not an administration, and I feel that the administration was willing to spend his life in defense of nothing more than its whim. That’s just my opinion.

    I’d write my blank check for my family.

    marilyns last blog post..Happy Saturday

  6. Awww….that is awesome! I bet that’s a lesson those kids will never forget (and one that more kids need to be taught). I laughed along with you, by the way. *grin*

  7. Dragon says:

    Clever.

    I would write a blank check for everyone in life who I consider family.

    Dragons last blog post..Potato, Leek and Gruyère Tart

  8. martymankins says:

    I’m an Obama supporter and I clicked the link. And I support veterans, mostly family that has served (in years past). My uncle was in WWII and just turned 95 this year. I’ve not seen him in years, but my mom and I used to go help him with his yard when he couldn’t.

    My blank check would be written for anyone who I knew that would put the money to good use, having to make sure it wasn’t just spent for some political or religious need… that the money would actually be going to help others get what they needed to live each day. That’s a broad reason, but I think if someone has really tried to help themselves but in the end, needed that little bit extra to make it past a hurdle in life, then I wouldn’t mind helping if I had the means.

    martymankinss last blog post..One Of The Blog Gang

  9. Kell says:

    I think you missed the entire point Marty. The blank check being referred to is for an asset much greater than the almighty dollar, the pain and sacrifice that our boys overseas have made to keep us free. The amount on that check can’t be measured in dollars or cents. But in time lost with family, arms, legs and life itself. Obviously you may have clicked the link, but you didn’t read the story.

  10. whall says:

    Man oh man. I *know* I composed up a response to this post’s comments but they’re not here. So now I gotta remember what I said and re-type them.

    Winter, I thank your dad for his service.

    Avitable, Not to sound all heartfelt and meaningful and all, but when you cash that check and the bank of your soul sees what it’s really worth, maybe you’ll have a lump in your throat then like I do now.

    Dave2, I practice Safe Facts. Always use a condemnation before safe facts.

    metalmom, that’s a great endorsement!

    marilyn, I thank your brother for his service, and his family for supporting him. I respectfully disagree about the administration using a whim as motive for a soldier’s death, as I’ve seen no evidence of that whatsoever.

    BlondeBlogger, we’re always good for a laugh 🙂

    Dragon, that’s very giving

    martymankins, I thank you uncle for his service and the rest of your family that you have supported. And as Kell puts it below, I think you may have missed the ‘blank check’ part.

    And you always have the means within you.

    Kell, thanx for your comment today – I appreciate it!

  11. Buster says:

    I am a vetran and I wrote my check for my country during Viet Nam. There were many people who felt that war was unnecessary also. Let me remind everyone that after the US pulled out of Viet Nam, the Khmer Rouge killed two million people in southeast asia because there was no one there to stop them. America decided to stop payment on those checks at the cost of freedom in southeast asia. Richard Nixon pulled the troups out because public opinion told him to do so. Sometimes, public opinion is just flat wrong. Leadership is about making correct decisions which are sometimes very unpopular.

  12. Paul says:

    Looking for the author of the quote at the end of your quite poignant article “What is a vetaran?” Can you help?

    • whall says:

      If you meant the quote about “whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve — is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America,’ for an amount of ‘up to, and including his life.'” — I don’t have an answer. I received it via email. I did a quick Google search and see it used in many places but no attributable quotes.

  13. SFC Craig says:

    I am really disappointed that so many people missed the point on this one. As a 22 year veteran, I have written that check several times (we do have an all VOLUNTEER force), and plan to stay in for many more years. We do not perform our ‘duty’ for the president, we do our jobs for the American people. It doesn’t matter who the president is, we do our jobs. That is what WE owe the American people. The oath I took was to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and I will do that with my dying breath. And before you ask…yes I am a father…the mother of my 3 children passed 2 years ago and I still plan to continue my military service. God, Family, Country!!

  14. Master Sergeant, Retired USAF 1968-1989 says:

    All gave some, Some gave all.

  15. Glynis Smy says:

    I could not write a bigger cheque than anyone who laid down their life for me. I was a nurse and value life, my life is lived because I am protected by others. This is my thanks to all who defend me http://authspot.com/poetry/admiration-and-gratitude/.
    Your story of the desks was wonderful, what a teacher she really thought out her lesson that day.
    .-= Glynis Smy´s last blog ..Strange -Mystified-Puzzled =-.

  16. Gerald says:

    If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a veteran.

    Thank you to all who have and continue to serve us.

  17. SSG James Pentecost says:

    I earned my desk by doing my best in School always striving for the highest grade I could earn. After graduating I joined the Navy, fought in Desert Storm aboard the Battleship Wisconsin firing the main battery (16″ guns) in direct and indirect support of the ground troops. I left the Navy after 11 years of service and found my way into the Army National Guard and later to full time National Guard service. I was selected to remain on rear detachment when my unit last deployed however am looking forward to being there for the next one. I am married to the same wonderful woman (my first and only wife) who has supported me and raised my children no matter where I was through out most of my career. I have 20 years of service, 17 of those are on active duty. The check I wrote out of highschool is still a good check.

  18. Becca says:

    I signed that blank check to our Government, as did my Brother, Father, Grandfather, several Uncles & Cousins. Some of those checks were cashed & paid in full & others were either partially cashed or returned uncashed. Thank you to all the Veterans and their families; past, present & future. Freedom is never free but is bought paid for with the blood of our soldiers

  19. Just A Guy . . . says:

    I am a 24 year (retired) veteran of a State Police Department, I am now a firefighter, and currently still serving in the military (a reservist on active duty preparing to deploy) now going on 23 years. Despite getting getting gruff from ‘both sides’ as a cop, getting ‘singed’ during fires more times than I can count, and all the ‘hurry up and waiting’ for Uncle Sam, . . . I would write a blank check in a heart beat to be able to come back in another life and do it all over again for my country. This country!

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