Susan Whinery: Teach us Major Adams’ story
To the editor:
Recently, elementary students in Craig were given the honor and responsibility of naming the new elementary school. In doing so, students received a hands-on lesson in the voting process and learned invaluable lessons about democracy in action.
As happens so often in a democracy, the candidate that many were rooting for failed to win the popular vote. The School Board had the final say in the naming of the new school, and some thought the board simply should overrule the students’ decision.
Our Board then taught an even more important lesson. Students were shown that when individuals in a democratic society are given a right or a responsibility, that opportunity will not simply be taken from them by others whose opinions differ or by those who see themselves as having a more important agenda. They learned that our School Board and administration would respect and uphold their election results. This lesson in ethical behavior far outweighs the need to name a physical structure after a fallen hero.
As I’ve researched the life of Major Adams, however, I’ve come to have an enormous appreciation for this man who sacrificed his life for this country. The United States Army already has named a training facility after Major Adams, which seems quite fitting, considering his commitment to the military as a career soldier.
But, having a building named for this American hero will not keep him alive in the minds of our students. For those who really want us to remember Adams, please teach us his story. Only when we begin to understand the enormity of his commitment can we truly appreciate his value.
I encourage classroom teachers to learn about Major Adams’ life and invite community members to share their personal memories of this great man. Make him a true part of our history, not by simply naming a building after him or printing articles in the newspaper, but by showing our young people the man behind the Medal of Honor recipient.
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