Katherine S. Lee: Student Story

November 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM | Posted in Student Stories, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Original photo: “Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Maya Ying Lin,” on culturedart.blogspot.com

We honor our veterans every year on Veteran’s Day. My father is one of the millions of veterans who fought and served their country. My father is an Ex-Navy Seal who fought in the Vietnam War in the late 60’s and early 70’s. He was drafted at a young age due to only being a part-time college student. My father never speaks about his time in Vietnam and will never to anyone. No one except for our family even knows he is a veteran. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Christian, Muslim, or Atheist you probably know a veteran. Whether you are pro-war or against war, you probably know a veteran. I am proud of my father’s service.

Sometimes we never really see the other side of a war when we are in armed conflict; this  can become a pretty ethnocentric experience. One of my students grew up in Vietnam during the war. She is an extremely bright, curious, and amazing student that loves to learn and challenge herself. One day, in class, we were speaking about childhood and she shared her experiences with the class. She told us how she would hear bombs, gunshots, and fields burning every night. Her parents only allowed her to go to school and back home. She never had any friends, she never went out, and she never was allowed to do any activities. It was too dangerous to go outside; she had to stay inside and would complete her homework. On numerous occasions, the front line would get too close and she would have to go in the safe room, which her family had built in their basements. One day, she came home from school and no one was home. She waited for hours for her family to come home, but no one did. Her brother was actually severely injured in a bombing that happened in his work building. Her family was at a hospital because they saw her brother’s building collapse after the bomb. Thankfully, the brother survived. He still has large burns marks and scars down his shoulder and back. My student said that this was her childhood. She would not change it for anything because it is hers; it wasn’t pleasant, but this is what made her what she is today.

This week we honor those who have served; those who have witnessed; those who have experienced; those who have died; those who have survived; and those who have so much to share of their experiences.

Katherine S. Lee, AmeriCorps Instructor
Literacy Council of Northern Virginia
2855 Annandale Rd., Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-0866 x 108
www.lcnv.org

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