As a classroom teacher of 24 years, I know the importance of teaching the standards and the pressure of students performing well on test scores. Somehow, that all pales in importance when I think of my good high school friend, Larry Herrera, who lost his life at the age of 19 serving in the Vietnam War. He never had the chance to get married, have a job and family, or live a full life.
Years ago I wrote a poem about him which I read (with difficulty) every year to my students for Memorial Day. I always show them his picture and the rubbing I made of his name at the Vietnam Veteran’s Wall in Washington DC. Even in the already packed school day, I always feel it is of upmost importance to talk about him and other individuals who gave their lives so all of us could enjoy ours. Eventually, I created a melody for this poem and turned it into a song – “No Time” on my Learning About Patriotic Holidays and Symbols CD.
Recently, one of Larry’s younger sisters, Stella, learned about the song, and through Songs for Teaching, was able to contact me. We had never met or talked with each other before. She thanked me for honoring Larry and all the other fallen soldiers through not only the song, but my teaching efforts over the years. We have formed a wonderful friendship via email, and have had a chance to share stories about Larry that have been very meaningful. We both say Larry is our hero, as are all the other individuals who gave their lives for our country and all of us.
In their honor this month of May, both of my CD’s, Learning About Patriotic Holidays and Symbols by Song and Learning American History by Song, will be available for the price of one. As responsible teachers and appreciative Americans, we owe it to these brave individuals who sacrificed so much to keep their memory alive.
This post submitted by Barbara Speicher
24-year veteran teacher, 3rd-6th
CD Company: Learning by Song
Guest Speaker: Benefits of Curriculum-Based Songs in Teaching
Tutors children of homeless families