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Gettysburg Jacket


Fri, Feb 15th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

I’m back in a classroom again, subbing. The other day I had to grab my raincoat to fend off the elements while helping students through the crosswalk, and I noticed something as I was buttoning up the snaps.

“This is my Gettysburg raincoat.”

I never really saw the point of raincoats, to be honest. I grew up without a lot of luxuries, so you got a heavy coat for the winter, and a lighter one for spring and autumn. However, for my Senior Tour in high school, my parents splurged and got me a bunch of new items for my first trip out east: the backpack that got me through college, a brand-new camera and of course, the raincoat. For us hardened Midwesterners, a rainy spring out in Pennsylvania would have seen no use for the winter jacket, and the light jacket might have been soaked through by the rain, if the movies and television we’ve seen of drizzly mid-Atlantic coal mines were any indication. It always seemed to be gray out there…

So, as we pulled into a drizzly, gray morning at the Gettysburg battlefield I grabbed for my raincoat out of the overhead compartment on the bus. I had the darn thing, and I was going to use it. I was actually the last off the bus, earning a small ribbing from my History teacher telling me to hurry up. My History teacher in high school was basically everything I ever wanted to be in a teacher (and everything I’m still trying to be, actually), so I made sure to hop to and get out there with the rest of my class to experience real, living History.

Our tour guide, another former History teacher and all-around amazing person, made this experience one of the most educational of my lifetime, but not just in the sense that I learned what a “brass monkey” really was. These two men would show me the way to walk, talk, and exhibit History outside of the dry, boring textbooks we’d seen or the dull, washed-out filmstrips we were forced to watch. At one point in the evening, I picked up a few blades of grass from the ground and showed them to another student.

“Do you know what’s in this grass?” I asked.

“Pesticides, probably.”

That’s when I knew I’d caught the bug, just like my tour guide and my teacher. Almost directly before that exchange, the tour guide had our class reenact a bit of History, telling us to run at a position on the battlefield tour like we were taking a Confederate position, yelling bloody murder .....
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One Moment Please.... Are we there yet?

Fri, Feb 8th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

Since realizing the calamities of the financial crisis of 2008, economists have been analyzing data and attempting to educate us on the state of our U.S. and global economy. Wall Street is seeing record levels with the Dow hitting 14,000 points for ..... 
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Trust and government

Fri, Feb 8th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

Polls over recent years demonstrate a declining trust in government, especially Congress. A recent Pew Research Center poll suggests citizens in rising numbers feel that the federal government threatens their personal rights. In 1995, 36 percent fe ..... 
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Over the cliff

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Fri, Feb 1st, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

By Stan Gudmundson I’ve quoted him before but it is appropriate to do so again. Historian Arnold Toynbee once said something to the effect that great countries and empires are not defeated, they commit suicide. The authors of the book I am John G ..... 
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Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Fri, Jan 25th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

During the Bush administration, Dana Perino was taking questions from reporters. The subject of the Cuban Missile Crisis came up. It turned out Dana had never heard about the installation of nuclear missiles by the Soviet Union on Cuba; the thirteen ..... 
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Is there a God?

Fri, Jan 18th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

By Pastor Mike Hopper “Is there a God?” In the January 14, 2013 issue of the Fillmore County Journal, Publisher Jason Sethre asked a good question. As a teen, I too asked that question, and since that time have come to the solid conclusion: “ ..... 
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Lost in Spades

Fri, Jan 18th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

It’s probably been long enough that most of you have managed to betray the promises made at the year’s beginning: exercise equipment has started collecting dust, you’ve sheepishly hit the drive-thru again, maybe that pack of smokes was just to ..... 
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One Moment Please... Is there a God?

Fri, Jan 11th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

When I am driving here and there, I often have my radio tuned into Minnesota Public Radio (91.7) or XM Radio. During my travels last week, I happened to catch a debate between scholars, scientists and clergy discussing whether God exists. Of c ..... 
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What is next?

Fri, Jan 11th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

By Brett Kues When I was 15, I wanted a car. I dreamed of a Toyota pickup with great big tires. I was not sure of the price, and didn’t care because I was certain my parents would foot the bill. One day on a rare trip into Omaha, as we were driv ..... 
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