I choked up as I read about the 37th annual memorial ceremony at Kent State. This memorial is for the students that were killed by National Guardsmen during an anti-war demonstration while the ROTC building burned in the background. While I agree that we need to learn from our history so as not to repeat mistakes, I wonder why it is only the negative things we focus on for this education? The Kent State incident, while a tragedy, happened 37 years ago. Instead, let's take some lessons from the positive aspects of the National Guard today.
Let's learn about honor from the National Guard men and women who answered their country's call and served in every conflict from the American Revolution to the present war on terrorism.
Let's learn about duty from the National Guard men and women who answer the call for their state and community during prison riots, floods, snowstorms, earthquakes, tornadoes and forest fires.
Let's learn about community service from the National Guard men and women who volunteer for proficiency test tutoring and Adopt-a-School.
Let's learn about sacrifice from the National Guard men and women who have spent weeks and months away from their families, in peacetime, to build roads in foreign lands and provide airlift, refueling and training support for missions around the world.
Let's learn about pride and patriotism from the National Guard men and women who give up one weekend a month and two weeks a year to train for any situation that they may be called to assist in -- whether it be for their community, state or nation.
As the bell tolls each year for the students who will toll the bell for the 476 National Guardsmen who have given their lives since Sept. 11, 2001.
Jeanne M. Gallagher