Ask Why You Still Can
(11/2010) November is well known for Thanksgiving, of course, but also Veteran’s Day. The purpose of Veteran’s Day is to remember the people who have helped carry out our country’s decisions serving in the American Armed Forces, who fought for America and our Allies. Many have lost their lives defending our country and our way of life.
My own family’s history is rich with US military experience. Both my grandfathers served in the Navy and fought in WW II, yet one of the few stories I’ve ever heard about my Grandfather Ulrich from that time is that he lost his wallet and the Salvation Army gave him the money to get home. I will never hear his stories through his voice because he is
dead. Though I only have one grandparent remaining, I feel like I have met all of my grandparents through the stories told by my parents, aunts, uncles and grandmother.
Go ask adults about their lives while you can – the things an adult has done in their life may astound you. Though it may not include serving in the military, perhaps they met a celebrity (or even were one!), or had a life-changing experience they may want to share. Whether it be something as simple as taking dance lessons or being class valedictorian,
their choices and experiences can surprise and even inspire you or anyone else to go down a new path in life.
Talking to my grandma reminds me my choices lie in the here and now, and every choice I make impacts me in ways I can not always imagine. As teenagers we tend to think we’re immortal. We seem to believe that danger generally doesn’t apply to us and the worst trouble we may ever face is being "grounded" by our parents. But bad things can happen. We
cannot see the future, nor can we change the past. Our believed immortality will die one day. Humanity as a whole does not live that long.
My friend had a severe heart attack on Nov. 7, 2009 and collapsed. Nov. 7 is the day her friends and family will use to mark one year since her attack. She is now forced to live knowing that, while her heart condition is being monitored, she must be incredibly careful for fear of a repeat heart attack.
She is aware that she is not immortal, for that thought was ripped from her.
However, her recovering progress has been much better than the hospital ever expected. She is up and walking for short periods of time. She is learning how to say more words everyday, and has even returned to school. She uses facebook almost every day to update her friends and family on her status. Her happiness radiates from her updates whether they
are about her psychology course, spending the day with her family, or something new she learned that she never knew before. She also keeps countdowns to the time the hospital will release her and she can head home. Since she cannot say most of her words she has quickly adapted to other ways of communicating. During my visits to the hospital she types out what she wants to say
on a computer. She is happy with the support from her friends and family and she keeps a positive attitude.
The way I see it, my friend has two options: she could complain, whine and hate life while staying in a wheelchair, or accept physiotherapy and slowly, but surely, learn to walk and talk again. We can all tell which choice she made.
The rest of us also have choices to make – choices that will help us make our own path in the world. It doesn’t matter what we want to do. Jessie wants to be a nun. I want to work with computers. My sister is interested in forensics. Kris is interested is cosmetology. We all make choices and work towards meeting our goals, and while our goals appear to
be small, we can still make our own dent on the world. Maybe we won’t be the ones to change the way the world moves, but we will be the ones to push it into position.
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