audreyAudrey Turner, Womoan's Club Inspiration Chairman, shared this true story with us at the May meeting Back in September, 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she took all the desks out of the classroom. The kids came into first period and there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said “Mrs. Cothren, where are the desks?” And she said, “You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn them.” One student said, “Maybe it is our grades.” Mrs. Cothren said “no.” Another student suggested, “Maybe it is our behavior.” Again Mrs. Cothren said “no.” And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the classroom. Second period, same thing; third period, same thing. By early afternoon television news crews had gathered in Mrs. Cothren’s class to find out about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of the classroom. The last period of the day, Martha Cothren gathered all her students. They were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the room. And she said, “Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn the desks that sit in this classroom normally. So now I’m going to show you and tell you.” Mrs. Cothren opened the door of her classroom, and as she did, 27 U.S. Veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. By the time they had finished placing all the desks in rows, those kids, for the first time perhaps in their lives, understood how it was that they had desks to use. Mrs. Cothren said, “You don’t have to earn those desks actually, for these guys did it for you. They earned them and put them here for your use, but it is up to each one of you to sit in them responsibly to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid a price for you to have these desks, and don’t ever forget it.” Ladies, I think sometimes we forget that the freedoms we have are freedoms, not because of celebrities or politicians, but because of ordinary people who did extraordinary things. People who loved this country more than life itself, and who not only earned a school desk for a kid at Robinson High School in Little Rock, but who earned a seat for you and me to enjoy this great land we call home. This wonderful nation that we better love enough to protect and preserve with the kind of conservation, solid values and principles that made us a great nation. “We live in the land of the Free because of the Brave.”

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