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The passing of a great man, who touched many lives

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posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 09:34 AM
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When I was in high school I had the best history teacher. He was passionate about the subject and a genuinely good person. He was a Veteran of the Vietnam Conflict and he taught a semester elective course on the history of the war. Because he was such a stellar teacher, I took the course. I grew up with documentaries and movies on all wars, but my dad was especially fond of those pertaining to the Vietnam War. Maybe it was because my grandfather, his father, was a veteran of that war, after Korea and WW2. He served 3 tours in Vietnam. He had nightmares of being in foxholes. Beyond that, I have no idea what my grandfather's experiences entailed, as he wouldn't talk about it. As a young person, I didn't quite understand that. I mean, sure it was horrific. I had watched Saving Private Ryan, Hamburger Hill and many more (along with Ken Burns Civil War docuseries, which was always watched when PBS aired it). But I wasn't until I took the class that I began to really understand the horrors that may have plagued my grandfather.

We learned about the political climate and the situations that lead up to the war. I really don't recall much. I was once fairly educated, for my age, on the conflict. But time has faded a lot. We were all assigned a Veteran to write a piece on. I was assigned a woman who had been a Top Secret stenographer. I can't even recall her name. We made a book of all our writings, and I recently stumbled upon it. I was super stoked, as I hadn't read it since I submitted it over 15 years ago. Bummer though, as my teacher must have given me the previous year's compilation and I have no idea if I will ever find my classes' edition anywhere. I do recall the lady telling me she knew for a fact that the war could have been over much sooner. She claimed to have been exposed to Agent Orange, which had not only seriously affected her health, but her daughter and grandchildren as well. I believe she had dealt with cancer, among other things.

The last day of class, Mr. B took us outside to share with us his war stories. He was drafted into the army, which wasn't something he wanted. He went through training but fell ill just prior to graduation, having him finish with the class that came after him. If he had graduated with the group he went through training with, he'd have ended up stationed in Europe. However, the group he ended up with was deployed to Vietnam, much to his disappointment. The class heard some truly horrific stories about a buddy that was blinded by shrapnel. Mr. B talked about how beautiful the fella's eyes were, the most striking blue. He told us about how he usually drove when they went out on patrol, but the one day he didn't, his buddy who drove was killed by enemy fire. He said he carried guilt because, "That should have been me". And the worst story, the one that will stick with me forever, involved his Sargent (or maybe Lieutenant? I can't recall- though I do remember his name, however I won't use it, as I would hate for this story to ever, in the off chance, get back to his wife or children). The guy, I'll call him Sargent D, had met a local woman and they had had children. When it was time for them to deploy, Sargent D said he was going to see her. Mr. B and the others begged him not to, as it was a hot area. He insisted. And when he didn't return they went to find him. WARNING
This part is pretty rough, so don't read on if you are easily disturbed.



They found Sargent D- impaled on a stake, and flayed. His tongue and genitals had been cut off. And he was still alive. I think he had made it to his wife, but on the way back was caught. They promised to make sure his wife and kids got out of the country, and ended his suffering. Mr. B said they were able to get his family to the States, but they never told them the truth about what happened to their husband/father, understandably. After hearing the few stories Mr. B shared, I understood why my grandfather never talked about his experiences in war. Having served in 3 wars, I can't imagine the things he may have been witness to or participated in.

Mr. B said he came back ruined, and he credited his wife as an angel, who stood by him and helped him through his darkest times.

A friend texted me last night to tell me that Mr. B had passed away. I knew he had been battling cancer. When I still had Facebook, I had reconnected with him. That was well over 3 years ago, and I shouldn't have been surprised to hear the news of his passing. I don't live nearby, so I won't be able to attend any kind of memorial for him. But I will always remember him as one of the best instructors I had the privilege of learning under. A lot of teachers get burnt out in their later years, they lack enthusiasm for the subject and have little compassion for the students. I totally understand how that could happen (one reason I would never want to be a school teacher). Not Mr. B- he was full of life and loved his students. I can't imagine the number of lives he touched over the course of his career. His class on the Vietnam War is one of the few classes I remember well. This is my memorial to him and the service he provided our country and the students he served in the class room.

Thanks for reading.




posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 09:38 AM
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a reply to: chelsdh

I also had a really great teacher in High School who made a very big impact on how I learned then and as an adult. I made sure when I ran into him about 5 years out of school to thank him and tell him about his influence.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 09:43 AM
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a reply to: chelsdh

Last week the vice principal at my daughter's high school died. He was 36. Aneurysm...
He was loved by many.

I think too many folks go through life without ever realizing the lives they impact.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 10:04 AM
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Thanks for sharing that story. Mr. B was a great man!



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 10:12 AM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

I have a small handful of instructors that I would like to tell them how much they impacted just me alone. Teachers really do hold so much power of SO many young lives. It's a profession that seems very thankless. I hope that changes one day. They help shape the generations of tomorrow.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 10:15 AM
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a reply to: Bluntone22

Oh my, that is so sad. Thoughts to his family, at home and his school family. Mr. B was near 70, and they likely knew it was coming. I can't imagine the aftermath of something so sudden and unexpected, even though it happens all the time.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 10:17 AM
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a reply to: ColeYounger

Thank you for reading. It seemed kinda silly to write about someone only I knew, but maybe someone here knew him too? Regardless, I wanted to memorialize him in a small way.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 10:18 AM
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originally posted by: AugustusMasonicus
a reply to: chelsdh

I also had a really great teacher in High School who made a very big impact on how I learned then and as an adult. I made sure when I ran into him about 5 years out of school to thank him and tell him about his influence.



I think this is very important to remember. Letting someone know how their actions impacted you for the better is something that should be shared with that person. If for nothing else to let them know you appreciated it. But it could spark even more of a positive outcome.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 10:21 AM
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a reply to: chelsdh

Yeah... Wife and 4 kids...ugh



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 10:24 AM
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originally posted by: chelsdh
I have a small handful of instructors that I would like to tell them how much they impacted just me alone. Teachers really do hold so much power of SO many young lives. It's a profession that seems very thankless. I hope that changes one day. They help shape the generations of tomorrow.


You should because the teacher I mentioned died shortly after from cancer. When I heard I told myself that I was glad I let him know his impact.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 10:25 AM
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originally posted by: network dude
I think this is very important to remember. Letting someone know how their actions impacted you for the better is something that should be shared with that person. If for nothing else to let them know you appreciated it. But it could spark even more of a positive outcome.


I agree, and this shouldn't be limited to just your school teachers. I think he truly appreciated it, one because I was sincere and two because he was always considered 'tough'.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 10:39 AM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

Since Mr. B was on Facebook, I made for to tell him how grateful I was to him. I also got in touch with a science teacher the day before she retired. I felt like a weirdo, but I wanted her to know she was amazing and I still remember a lot from her class, because she made it fun and she was so real with us. Without social media now, it is rather difficult to track them down.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 10:45 AM
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originally posted by: chelsdh
Without social media now, it is rather difficult to track them down.


LOL, for some people.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 11:07 AM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

I'm actually pretty good at tracking people down, but it looks creepy on the other side.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 11:18 AM
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a reply to: chelsdh

Yeah, I remember how I felt when you were finished.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 11:34 AM
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a reply to: chelsdh

Both my grandfathers were WWII vets in the Pacific. One I'm not clear if he was navy or infantry stationed on a ship, but he never, ever talked much about anything. Learning what I have about how the Pacific island campaigns went, I'm not surprised.

The other was a bomber pilot, and he would talk about it, but he only ever talked about the good times -- things like being on leave in Sydney and getting drunk with his buddies and "directing traffic".

It took real courage for you teacher to do that for you, and hopefully by passing on his stories, most of you know that war is hell. He touched you in a way that goes deeper than just dry facts and photos. Hopefully, most of you will have some real idea what war is, what it costs to those asked to fight it. That's a deep gift.

And it sounds like you had a true teacher. That's a great loss to the world.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 11:46 AM
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a reply to: ketsuko

My grandfather was a Marine, also in the Pacific. I hate that we know so little of his story. He was an intimidating man, who stood 6'5. He wasn't friendly and my brother, sister and I were afraid of him as young children. Very gruff. But as we got older, we got to see that he wasn't that bad. He had a sense of humor and he loved my mom's cornbread (to which my grandmother replied "he'll eat anything"). I think he had a soft spot for my mother, while my grandmother didn't like her, for no good reason other than she married her baby boy. He tried to tell my dad to give up booze, because he saw how it destroyed his own life, and he saw what it was doing to my father and his family. He died when I was 19. I don't believe he had any affection for grandmother, because he opted her out of his survivor's military benefits, which came as a huge shock to my grandmother when he passed. A final "eff you" to a woman he had miserably coexisted with for decades.



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 12:03 PM
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a reply to: chelsdh


May God Bless his soul. What a beautiful tribute you wrote for him, Bless you too!



posted on Sep, 28 2020 @ 01:06 PM
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a reply to: KTemplar

Aw.... thank you. I am glad you appreciated it.




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