Vietnam Veterans of America (V.V.A.)
I cried that night. The tears were all the pent up frustration, anger, resentments, hate and pain that were finally leaving my body-from a nightmare some 40 years ago. I am talking about this Vietnam Veteran -- me, Sgt. Westley. She said, "I was told to say 'welcome back' to all Vietnam Veterans." Then, she said "welcome back" to me, without any intent of causing distress. When she saw my reaction and the tears, she was sincerely concerned that she said something wrong. I said "no! It was a good thing and thank you." I had to leave the room because the emotions released were too much to share with anyone, but God.
She had no way of knowing that no other civilian said "welcome back" to me, when it's now some 40 years since coming home from combat in Vietnam. It was the phrase "welcome back," coming from a civilian that released my pain in a waterfall of tears. I am better today because of this caring young lady. I think I finally made it back for real. I have to think of my fellow Vietnam Vets. I hope they have a civilian say to them "welcome back," and finally really become whole as a result.
Many of my fellow Vietnam Vets still feel alienated from this great country -- as I felt. We all did the impossible for the ungrateful nation we came back to. Many of us who came back were spit upon, and called baby killers and rapists. Initially Vietnam Vets were denied membership in the VFW, because Vietnam was only considered a police action and not a "real war."
Most of us only went to Vietnam, because our fathers and grandfathers went to fight for our freedoms. They told us freedom isn't free and sometimes blood has to be spilled to keep it.
All veterans understand what freedom really means. Freedom is a concept and something that protected civilians will never really understand. Those who sacrifice nothing have no real concept of how to keep this nation, a free nation under God. We all should rededicate ourselves to protecting and defending the Constitution. We all should say "welcome back" to our returning veterans; all who did nothing more than follow military orders, from the incompetent people we elected. Most of all, we must always honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country.
Sgt. Larry E. Westley, Holly Hill
Playing to learn
During early childhood years children grow mentally, physically and emotionally. This growth can be enhanced through play. We know that play is very important for the developmental growth of children.
The definition of play means to occupy oneself in amusement or recreation.
Play is also defined as the "work" of children. Play is an enjoyable time that serves educational and recreational purposes.
Play helps our children obtain skills for growth, maturity, learning about the world and experiences -- meaningful life lessons.
There are six different types of play that encourage healthy development.
Cooperative Play: constant social interaction is the most inductive avenue for children to learn important social skills.
Independent Play: a monitored time that children have a safe way to direct activities to their interest.
Active Play: an enjoyable way for children to burn energy, consume calories and build healthy bones. It also helps children develop motor skills and hand eye coordination.
Fantasy Play: is flexible, spontaneous, and uses the imagination
Constructive Play: includes planning and creativity that focuses on the process.
Rule Base Play: is structured and goal oriented to produce a winner.
Teachers should interact with children as they play and learn. We are not just to supervise the children during play, but to take advantage of those teachable moments. As parents, guardians, and caregivers you should do the same.
As teachers it is conducive to our children's development and social well- being to grow socially, emotionally and physically.
We are responsible for creating and maintaining an effective learning environment.
So parents, when you pick up your precious jewels from Headstart and you ask them what did you do today? When their response is we played, remember play is essential for their proper growth and development.
Dorothy Mayhue, Mid-Florida Headstart teacher's assistant