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IN PRESERVING FREEDOM

by One Pissed-off Vietnam Vet, Presidential Candidate

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (also Dostoevsky) was a writer who described the psychological, political and social challenges of 19th-century imperial Russia. He was exiled to Siberia for five years of hard labor for his "liberal" beliefs, which Emperor Nicholas I interpreted as a threat.

(Dec. 18, 2011) — In everyone’s life, there is one person who stands out above the memories of all others, with the exception of our parents. This person could be a relative, a friend, even a movie star. I used to smoke, and one time I was at a gas station and went in to buy a pack and the guy in line behind me was the World War II Marine veteran movie actor, Lee Marvin.  When I asked the clerk for a pack, I could see the expression on Lee’s face, and you didn’t need to be a great actor to convey exactly what he was thinking. Proper decorum prevents me from using quotes that would contain numerous four-letter words in the context.

My wife used to be, in her words, a “definitely below-average problem child” until a counselor got hold of her and pointed her in a productive direction. Since then, she’s been a published technical author and is still achieving success. But it took one person to light the fire that would spark her interest, to keep her intellectually active for the rest of her life.

When I was in high school I was the most bored person on the planet. I think that the only reason I even went to school was that’s where the girls were. I used to read books while in class, and took the whole high school experience as a waste of time: I remember one geometry final I deliberately put down the wrong answer on a multiple choice test, just for the heck of it. I achieved a perfect “0”, which was my intent, but it sure as heck upset the teacher. I was marched into the Dean’s office where my mother was called to “Please come in for an immediate conference.” All I remember about it was adults looking at me shaking their heads from side to side. Yeah, it was a bore until, that is, I enrolled in a “college prep” English class, which was a real joke, because  my graduating was an iffy proposition.

Looking back on it, I really don’t know why I signed up for “College Prep English”…I suppose that it somehow stroked my ego that I was college-bound, at least in my imagination. But from the first day, I was hooked; I mean, I was caught.  Here was someone who read Dostoevsky, and had us diagram sentences written by Hemingway, who had us do book reports on books that I’ve already read, or wanted to read, anyway. And he taught writing skills: introductory, body, conclusion. How he ever withstood thousands of papers submitted with the last paragraph starting with “In conclusion” we’ll never know, for George B. Pappas died before the turn of the century, before a nondescript student who he probably didn’t remember could thank him for having a profound influence on his life. I waited until I wrote this piece to thank him, and that’s when I learned that I was too late.

But as I wrote at the beginning, each of us has that one person whom we remember as a help, even though it didn’t seem so at the time. Sometimes one person is remembered by many, and that’s what it takes, then, isn’t it, just one person who can light the fire, one person who can get the ball rolling. That’s all it takes, just one person, and we all can be that one person to help save our country.  Look at the candidates vying for the presidency and ask yourself if they would pound on that podium and yell “YA’ALL BEST PAY ATTENTION!”

In conclusion, in honoring the memory of one of my past teachers, please keep in mind the millions who suffered and died for our Constitution, that their sacrifice was not in vain, but rather to ensure that the beacon of freedom will continue to shine:  be that one person to be remembered.

OPOVV@yahoo.com

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