by Marc Cullison [mcullison.com}
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, here. I’ve been busy trying to get my life in order. A number of changes are coming and I wanted to be prepared.
The main thing of importance is my retirement. After thirteen years of teaching math and science at Connors State College, I decided it was time to retire. I have found that as I have aged, my attitudes have changed, my stamina has changed, and my tolerance for selfishness and ignorance has changed. I’m still physically able to teach, and I still have a good attitude toward learning and teaching. What I have run into is a continuing trend for young students to have no earthly notion of what education is or what it means to them.
I have also found that if a student doesn’t want to learn, the student won’t learn. And you can’t make him or her learn. The desire to learn is missing from many of our youth. It’s sad to think that what made this nation so great is being forgotten and cast aside as unimportant. We are losing the education battle.
Then Memorial Day rolled around and I started thinking. Usually, that means that I find some kind of mess to get myself into. However, this time I was fortunate enough to find myself removed from a source of trouble.
My wife and I traveled to Harper, Kansas, where I visited the graves of my parents. The both passed away in 1999. This is the first time I have been back there. It’s not that I don’t respect them or not think about them. I think about them nearly every day. I just don’t believe in wasting money and time on plastic flowers that grace so many of the graves on Memorial Day. In fact, I don’t believe in graves, at all. I have directed that my body be cremated after my death (that’s preferable to it happening before). I don’t want folks blubbering over my grave when I’m gone. Hell, I’m gone. I won’t even know it, at that point, and it’s senseless for someone else to wail and carry on about it. If they didn’t respect me while I was alive, I certainly wouldn’t expect it after I’m dead. I don’t want anyone putting on a show like that in my name. I figure that those folks who did have some respect for me will think about me from time to time. That’s all I would want. It’s all I would expect.
During our travel over the weekend, we passed many cemeteries, and I thought about that. A cemetery does serve a useful purpose, I suppose, in proving a safe and contained area for the dead to be laid to rest, so to speak. And it does provide a place for gathering to honor those who have passed, especially veterans. It is the veteran who should receive such honor. It is the veteran who actually did something for the common good, contributing to the freedom and well-being of so many. I’m sure many of the others did too, but the veteran is an icon that we all can identify with.
Those of us who served in the armed forces are probably more attuned to this event than anyone else, except for the families of the veterans who have passed on. I, for one, am proud of having served, even if it was in Viet Nam. It was my duty and I did it. Proudly. Not that I received much thanks or gratitude. I didn’t expect any. It was my job. But I still feel humbled by all of the veterans that passed on before me, especially the ones to gave their lives for their country. They deserve the deepest respect. It was all of them who made out lives safe and free today. It’s a shame more people don’t have the moral sense of obligation to serve their country. But that is a topic for another day.
Here, on Memorial Day, 2014, I salute of the brave souls who served and fought for this great country. I only hope my own passing meets with as much reverence.