By Dave Baumgartner
SYRACUSE — Helen Keller who was born blind was once asked what could be worse than being born without sight. She replied, “to be born with sight and have no vision.”
Long before Helen Keller was born, we find in the book of Proverbs 29:18 where we are told in no uncertain terms that “without vision the people perish” these inspirational words are quoted to encourage people to reach their highest potential, they are often used to inspire mission statements that encourage people to have a positive impact on society.
With these two similar thoughts in mind, I was reading the Wawsee Community School Corporation’s mission and vision statements. The Wawasee mission statement ends by saying in regard to our students that we want to “empower them to reach their highest potential.” In the corporation’s statement of vision, it says that we want “our students to be confident well-rounded citizens who positively impact their communities.”
One of the best ways to reach the above-stated mission and goals is to teach our young people about our history. There is a great story about a South African game preserve that decided to separate all the older elephants from the young elephants. After a few weeks, they noticed that the young elephants started acting up and doing very harmful and damaging things. The game preserve administrators decided to let the old elephants back with the young ones and sure enough, the bad behavior stopped. The game preserve keepers concluded that without the leadership of the old experienced elephants the young ones did not know how to act which led to their wild and unruly behavior.
My point to all of this is that we have an opportunity to fulfill our mission and vision statements, by labeling the stadium that embraces Warrior Field “Harry J Michael Veteran Stadium” we can impact untold future generations by standing tall and saying to the world “we will not forget” the duty and sacrifice our veterans have made to give us our freedom. By being in a high profile place, young people can be taught about the name of the stadium, and we can be good old elephants and tell the stories of our men and women who have served and in many cases died for our great nation.
Our veterans embody our mission statement. They sacrificed so that we all have the opportunity to “reach our highest potential.” Our veterans’ actions totally support our vision statement and have had a “positive impact on our communities” as we live free each day.
To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, many of us are asking our people in leadership positions to “tear down the wall of apathy and indifference.” Let’s honor all our veterans by using the stadium as a teaching tool for generations to come.