JS Tip 269: Remembering What's Important

Tips from Jefferson Smith Training and Consulting

** Remembering What's Important

Last Monday was Memorial Day. Next Friday is June 6th, the anniversary of D-Day.

Memorial Day has become a day for sales and picnics. The living memory of June 6th, 1944 is fading. The youngest soldier on the beach that day—if he survived that day—will be in his late eighties now.

One of our tasks at West Point was to teach the cadets literature, literature that included poetry. How could we teach poetry to young men and young women going in harm’s way?

We decided to use war poetry, that genre of poetry written by those who had been there.

One of the poems we chose was Randall Jarrell’s “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”:

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

We must remember. We owe them that.

Next week, we’ll get back to writing. Or leadership. Or whatever.


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