After a night spent packing and saying goodbyes to our family and friends, our weariness at leaving campus at 3:30 am today was overcome by the excitement at the beginning of our journey in the Pacific theater with five amazing World War II veterans. “I could use some coffee,” echoed throughout the plane as the sound of the wind and the whine of the engines made many eyelids heavy. While looking down on our beautiful Ozarks, amazed at the images of flooded lakes and rivers, our thoughts turned to the Navy and the Marine veterans sitting nearby because this piece of ground called America would be a very different place had it not been for their hard work and sacrifice.
The veteran we are assigned to, Mr. George Beden, is an extremely energetic man who is always up before the sunrise. His and the other veteran’s lifestyles remind us of a quote by Benjamin Franklin--“Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” One thing that we have noticed from these gentlemen in just a short time together is their work ethic. If it needs to be done, they do it without a second thought and without trying to delegate it to someone else, a lesson our fellow students would be well advised to learn.
During our eight hour flight to Hawaii, we continually were amazed at how many people appreciated our veterans, coming up to them and saying, “Thank you for serving this country,” which is another lesson we hope our fellow students learn and carry with them the rest of their lives. We know we will.
Elizabeth Wiley and Paul Harloff