Over the last 3-4 years our oldest children (Madison, Morgan, Mallory, and Meghan) have been saturated in American History. Just this year, we introduced World History to the oldest two. The curriculum that we chose in the beginning of those years is heavy on literature and introduces them to all sorts of wonderful books that they have devoured. Little did I know, over that span of time, something was taking place in their hearts. Particularly the oldest, Madison.
It was a normal Boggs household day full of cooking, cleaning, schooling, and entertaining little ones. Madison had been downstairs in her bedroom for some time. She “arose” and when I finally took a second to glance her way, I could tell that she had been crying.
Madison loves to read. She loves mysteries and drama. But, what she has really come to love are books that are based on a factual events. History. With history comes the truth of very difficult times. She had our permission to put any book away if it was too much for her. But, she couldn’t. Something had began to stir within her. She was awakened to the amazing reality of the blessedness of the this life we have been given in this land that we live.
I found out her tears were not from the sadness of the book, but more so her awareness of the HUGE sacrifice given throughout time on our behalf. She was saddened to think (in her very young mind), that we could very possibly be squandering away that most precious gift.
Without trying to further articulate her thoughts to you, I will let her do it herself in the way of a short story she recently submitted to a writing contest. She was only able to communicate her heart in 1,000 words. I know for a fact that there is so much more she could have said. She is 14. She gives me hope, because I believe if we are faithful as parents to give a thorough understanding of our rich history to our children, we may very well have a younger generation who are willing to fight to keep alive the moral, religious, and constitutional heritage that we have been given.
A SACRIFICE TO LIVE FOR
By Madison Boggs
It started out like any other day, with trees swaying to and fro, tall grass rolling in the wind like waves in the sea, and then one telegram turned that beautiful day dark and black.
I ran down stairs to prepare lunch and while cooking fried chicken, I was reminded of the last time I had made it for my brother Tom. It was before he’d left to join the war, but now he was stationed in Germany, and I worried about him constantly.
My thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door, and after wiping my hands, I went to see whom it was. I opened the door to see an army officer standing with a yellow telegram in his hand. My throat clogged with fear, my body stiffened, and panic was setting in. I opened my mouth to call mother, but nothing came out.
With a solemn face the army officer held out the telegram.
He asked, “Are your parents home?”
After shaking my head yes I managed to muster, “Mother!”
Mother ran in, took one look at the army officer, and one look at my ghostly white face. “Oh dear God, no!”
The army officer handed her the telegram saying, “I’m truly sorry ma’am.” With that he left.
Mother led me into the kitchen, where she called my Father and my sister Sally down. She mumbled something about Tom, and then broke down into a stream of sorrowful tears. Her body shook with each sob. I stood panic-stricken.
Father took the telegram from Mother’s trembling hands. He swallowed hard and read.
We are sorry to inform you that
Lieutenant Thomas Arnold
died in action May 30, 1943
With those words I felt the room getting smaller, my head spinning, and darkness was closing in.
I woke up to find myself in bed, with confusion confining me. But, things quickly came rolling back as Father walked in, his face white with dark circles under his eyes, a dead giveaway he hadn’t slept a wink. I suddenly remembered what happened yesterday. My brother was dead. I felt my body go numb. Father came and put his hand over mine.
“Oh, my dear Kate.” Father said.
I looked at his face, full of worry and concern, but more than that was sadness.
My numbness left. Tears I had been holding in streamed down my cheeks. I started to sob uncontrollably. My sadness intertwined with anger at my brother for leaving, at Father for letting him, and at the war! Father’s eyes filled with sympathy, which only made it worse. I didn’t want his sympathy, I wanted my brother!
Father wrapped his arms around me. I clung to him tight, afraid to let go. He was silent, letting me cry. I felt my heart truly breaking. Finally after crying till I could cry no more I looked at Father. His teary eyes were filled with love.
“I don’t understand why he had to go and fight. If he had stayed, he’d still be with us.” I whispered.
“He did what he had to do. You might not understand now, but one day you will.” Father replied, handing me a letter.
I looked down to see whom it was from. I saw Tom’s familiar handwriting.
At my questioning look Father said, “He wrote that the day before he died.”
Then he slipped out the door leaving me with what you could call my final hour with Tom.
With shaking hands, I opened the letter. Tears threatened to fall, for I knew this would be the last letter I read from Tom. Silently I read:
I cannot tell you how much I miss you. Your letters brighten my days. We are getting ready for the battle tomorrow, and I feel I must write to you for I might not survive. Please understand that if I die, I died fighting for a cause, and I’m okay with that. I’m fighting in this war for our next generations, so that they will live in freedom. I love my country and I honor the sacrifice that our men made when they fought to be a free country.
Tomorrow I will raise our flag high, for it is America and my family that I fight for. I fight for the children yet to be born, so that when they come into the world they will be born in the land of the free. There is evil and it’s up to us to fight it. You and our family give me the courage for what I will face. The ugly face of death makes me want to tremble, but I will stand tall. Most of all I’m fighting for the ones that have lost their lives for America.
Kate, there is one thing I ask of you. Will you live for the ones that have died? Live out their courage so it will never be forgotten? Live for the ones still fighting? Please don’t grieve long for me if you receive word of my death, for now you know what I have died for. You will have battles of your own. You will have to fight the grief and hardship. I know you will fight with courage.
Take care of Mother and Father for me. Share the letter with the family. I love you all more then words can say. Live for the sacrifice that all us men are making.
Your loving Brother,
As I closed the letter, a new set of tears began to fall. He died fighting for what he believed in. He was right, I do and will have battles of my own, but this sadness wasn’t going to win. Tom wouldn’t want us to feel sad, he’d want us to understand. I got off my bed and went to share the letter with my family. I had a battle to fight, and I would win for Tom. I now understood, it is a sacrifice I will live for.
Whoever wants the next generation will get them,