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Our role in America’s future

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ANDI BAUR, Guest Columnist

Editor’s note: Cannelton High School student Andi Baur composed the following essay and read it as part of Cannelton’s Veterans Day Program Thursday.  

My name is Andi and I am a proud stitch in the fabric of America. I live in a small town, lived here all my life. I’ve seen a lot of things here. I’ve seen corn growing in fields and a whole lot of people I’ll never really know.

I’ve ridden my bike all over this place in my childhood, feeling like a superhero with the wind blowing my hair about, feeling the sun beating down and making me sweat that pleasant child sweat that feels so good when the wind blows on it. Staying hot in that warm Indiana sun. I’ve got the freckles to prove it.

My childhood was spent with friends exploring our small world. I was a tomboy, the girl who played with mud instead of Barbies. I was one of the boys. I remember taking spare wood from a construction site and trying to make a bridge across the creek in front of my house with some friends from all over the neighborhood. It worked, but soon the mud became just as slippery as the rocks.

My childhood was so sweet, I only could have experienced it in America. I learned what good in people is, right from wrong. I learned about being brave, and honest, and that your parents want you home before dark because they love you. My American childhood has shaped me, and in turn, I will shape America with the love it has given me.

This is my generation. My generation is very diverse, perhaps like no other. My generation is the future, and I am proud that someday I will share a part in the care of my country. I am so proud to be an American, and I see my generation as one to be influential like no previous generation.

There are a select few amongst us who choose different paths. I saw a boy where I work a few days ago. I hadn’t seen him since we were 11 or 12. I never forgave him because he never paid me back a dollar he owed me for pizza when we went to Rainbow Skateland.

He walked into McDonald’s in an army uniform. I watched him from behind the cash register, stunned. He had grown up so much. His face so set and respectable. He is choosing to give everything he can to his country.

When I grow up, I plan to settle down comfortably. I will go to college, start a career, get married and have a few kids.

This is the life path many others in my age group have waiting for them. I don’t want everything, but I want my life to be pleasant.

The boy, his name is Steven, will risk everything so I can have this life. So that my friends and classmates and neighbors can have a life similar and comfortable like mine. I forgive him for the dollar he owed me. Now I can never properly repay him.

My Grandpa Howell, on my mother’s side, died before I could ever meet him. My mother can’t even remember him; he died when she was 3. He was in the Army during World War I, where he earned a Purple Heart and three oak-leaf clusters (signifying additional awards). He did not die in service. My grandpa’s story is so inspirational.

As the story goes, I am only here because he bent down to change his socks and a bullet hit someone else instead of him. He was a courageous and brave man whom I wish I could have met.

There are still people in my generation like this. They will leave behind their legacies as my grandpa has left behind his. If you sift through all the meaningless headlines, you will hear stories of soldiers and their acts of bravery. They are not covered enough, but when you do come across a news story about our men in uniform, be aware that they fight for your safety and security. We live in a place where heroism never goes out of style.