Friday, February 1, 2008


Last year, I taught 3rd grade. Here are 3 of my students 'signing' a sentence in American Sign Language. Whenever, I teach as a classroom teacher- I always teach my children the alphabet and about 200-300 words in ASL. They love it and it is very useful for visual direction cues.

Last year, I knitted 3 scarves that I donated to the RED SCARF PROJECT. This project is a program sponsored by the American Foster Agency and they asked for volunteers to knit or crochet scarves for college age students who had aged out of the FOSTER PROGRAM. One of the photos you can see the 3 scarves being held by my students on the front row. (By the way, this wasn't all of my students a few were absent that day.)

I had my students made 'pop up' encouragement cards in which they also offered 'education advice' to the college aged students. *I also have my students send 'pop-up holiday cards' to the soldiers in Iraq too. I had the sweetest class that I had ever taught last year.

Today, I was in my classroom and had just warmed up my lunch, when the principal came into my room to tell me that he had bad news. The school had just gotten word, that one of my former student's dad had just been killed in Iraq. I know that there is a war going on over there.. but, you just never expect it to happen to someone you know. Even if I am working on a military base in a foreign country.

Some of the dads, from last year, I never even met- because some were stationed at the DMZ and family members aren't allowed to live up there. This also enables their children living here in Seoul to attend our school on base.

However, this particular dad I had met several times. HE was so nice, humorous, and had grown up in a rural background the same as I had. On top of it all he was so good looking that it was difficult to look him in the eyes. However, he was the type of good-looking that wasn't even aware that he was handsome.. which just made him even better looking. His wife was adorable and as sweet as he was. They had two children. His son that was in my classroom and a three old daughter. My former student's dad was a Captain in the Army and a police officer for the military. Or an MP as we call them.

Korea is considered a REMOTE assignment. This means that most military personnel stationed here aren't allowed to bring their families- if they are married. If they come over here on a remote tour (married or single) their tour of duty is almost always only one year. However, if they bring their families they can stay two years and can get extended and stay three years. I'm not sure if you are aware of it or not- but, there is actually only a 'cease fire' declared between North and South Korea.

About two years ago, they started sending some of our military from Korea to Iraq. Samuel's dad was sent over there in late November or early December 2006. We sent messages to him from our class. IF they hadn't extended the tour of duty for those stationed in IRAQ.. he would have already served his year and would have been sent back here to Korea and as it was.. he only had a few weeks left before he would have returned to his family and the unthinkable happened. Kind of hard to believe that you can be stationed for a shorter amount of time in Korea.. than if you are in a warzone in Iraq. I think it should be the other way around for sure. Korea isn't quite the same as other assignments- there are a few dangers here.. but, come on.. no one should be stationed longer in a warzone than being stationed in Korea.

And now tonight, our military community from Yongsan Army Post in Seoul, South Korea, and two darling little children who haven't seen their dad in over a year and now never will, have lost one of our own.

So, look up and notice the sunrise or sunset today, be sure to be a little nicer to everyone today and tomorrow.

If you know anyone in the military.. say thank you to them and their family members and to all the civilians who work overseas doing their part for the military. Because, we are all a community serving.. even if only some are wearing the uniform.

Now, go back and look at the photos. In the first photo- look at the first little boy on the left. In the group photos.. he is in the back row and the third child from the left.


Purling Kitty said...

My heart goes out to your former student. My brother is currently serving in Iraq. He will come home in August 2008 (he left in May 2007). I pray for him and all the soldiers every day. Thank you for reminding us that we should be grateful for all the little blessing is life.

susanc said...

I was so sorry to read this. My heart goes out to your former student and his family. We should be grateful each and every day for the freedoms and opportunities that we have here in the U.S.

Christine said...

How very sad, for the soldier, his family, friends and your community.
My thoughts go out to you all.

iwouldratherbeknitting said...

Thanks everybody. We don't know the details of what exactly happened yet. I also don't know if the family will now return to the states or not?

Mandi (a.k.a MissMandiGirl) said...

So sad, The men & women we've lost. We should never forget those who gave their lives to serve their country.