The Honor of Talking to My Class – 50 Years Later

The Graduating Class of 1964, Gen. H.H. Arnold High School, Wiesbaden, West Germany, held a 50th Reunion in Austin, TX last month.  I was reluctant to attend because I really didn’t know anyone, except Doc.  But Doc continued to encourage me and I decided it just might be the time to ‘show up.’

I am deeply engaged in this project, ‘The BratPin.’  This is an initiative to recognize and honor Military Brats – for their service, for our service, to our country.  I attempted to gain this recognition through Congress, but after 4 years now of “sitting in committee,” I decided to do it myself.

I called Doc and floated the idea of providing a BratPin for everyone in attendance; after all, most of the kids in my graduating class are Military Brats.  Our host, Mark S., agreed to the idea, and one was put in each of the welcoming bags.

The reunion ran 3 days.  On the last evening at Mark’s house, I was given the opportunity to talk to my class – to explain the significance of the BratPin.

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Talking about the BratPin was easy; it’s been a passion of mine for well over four years now.  However, as I got deeper into my presentation all of a sudden it hit me – here I am, talking to my class, 50 years after graduation…

I wasn’t ‘anybody’ in high school.  I hid.  And I hid in plain sight, very well.  When I first got to the reunion maybe only but 1 or 2 people knew me.  But I knew who ‘they’ were.  I knew who was a ‘jock,’ a cheerleader, a National Honor Society member, the Prom Court and so forth.  I knew them – but they didn’t know me.  So to have the opportunity to speak to my class truly was an honor.

And the significance of it all hit me as I spoke and looked out over my classmates – everyone was actually paying attention to me.  That was humbling.  And when I was finished speaking, I felt a firm hand on my shoulder…

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 5.25.48 PMI didn’t know who it was until I saw this picture – it is Mark S.  I don’t know if he knows how much his simple gesture meant to me that night – it was as if I was finally ‘back home.’

There were so many people there I knew but really didn’t know.  However, over the 3 days I got to know many of them and I am so glad I did.  To the point where I am looking forward to our next reunion to continue conversations began – and perhaps, beginning new ones.

I am so blessed – to have been part of this class…

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