Celebrating Veterans with 25-word-stories

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As some of you know, I have been tinkering with 25 word stories on Twitter as a way to narrow storytelling down to its bare essentials. You have to leave more out than you put in. Yesterday, on Veteran’s Day, I got inspired to write a bunch of 25 word stories to honor the stories about veterans.

Peace (in the writing),

My Thoughts on Veteran’s Day

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(photo courtesy of Gail Poulin)

Yesterday, at our school, we held a Veteran’s Day Assembly in which our school community honored Ed Boruki, a veteran of Pearl Harbor and World War II and still driving and walking around at the age of 90. One of our teachers, a veteran himself who organizes the event each year, came up with the wonderful idea of dedicating our flagpole to Mr. Boruki.

There were about three dozen veterans from the town there, most of whom were related to students at our school. They all introduced themselves to our school, one at a time.  It’s powerful to hear their voices, of where they served and in which branch of the military.  Our music teacher has written original songs for the whole school to sing called “You are the Heroes” and “We Will Remember” and there was a special luncheon for the visitors. I think our school does Veteran’s Day right.

Our staff has just three veterans, as far as I know, and I happen to be one of them. I was an infantry soldier in the Army National Guard for much of my early adulthood. So, I was asked to give a speech about what Veteran’s Day means to me.

I spent a lot of time with it, actually, trying to capture my thoughts about thanking veterans for their time served and some of my own experience in the military. I had it all printed out, and ready to go.

But we held the assembly outside on a crisp fall day. The wind was cranking, the volume on the PA system was low and the hundreds of students standing there could not be expected to pay close attention for long. So, I abandoned my script and ad-libbed the main parts of what I wanted to say. It went fine, and it was much shorter than I had originally planned as a result.

But I did record the original version as part of my writing revision process. I added some music in to it and figured I would share it out today, in honor of Veteran’s Day 2010.

Listen to the speech

Peace (in the sharing),

PS — See the blog post of my colleague, Gail Poulin, for some pictures and more information about the event.