Memorial Day Musings 5/29/2023 #meonmonday #mondaymusings #samwisegamgeespeech

I retired on June 1, 2013 from a career in education in which I wore many hats over those many years.

  • teacher of students with special needs
  • K-12 principal
  • School psychologist for a 13-district educational cooperative
  • Director of Exceptional Student Services for a 13-district educational cooperative
  • junior high and high school English, history, and dual credit college classes (small, rural school)

This picture was my last look at my classroom just before I turned off the lights and closed the doors on May 24, 2013, which was the day following the last day of school that year. At the time, it was a bittersweet representation of these poignant words from Les Misérables…

empty chairs at empty tables

Ten years later, this picture conjures much, much darker thoughts.

I think of all the school children, teachers, and school staff who have died at the hands of maniacs with assault rifles and the empty chairs at empty tables in their schools and classrooms.

I think of the family members of those murdered children, teachers, and school staff who also have empty chairs at empty tables in their homes.

I think of soldiers who have died for our country and their families who have empty chairs at empty tables.

I think of people in law enforcement who have died and their empty chairs at empty tables.

I’m not a social activist. I’m not a political activist.

What I am is a U.S. citizen who is still proud of my country, who still has faith in my country, but who is also disheartened that I’m living through these very difficult times for our nation. I believe in the Regular Joe and Regular Jane in America will prevail over the political corruption, downright stupidity and ignorance, greed, and self-serving agendas that are trying to get a foothold. I believe it is through the Regular People, especially the younger voters, who will provide reasonable and sensible thinking to turn this downward spiral into an upward revolution, and we will once again come back to our senses as a country.

Like Samwise Gamgee, I hold onto hope.

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam…

Sam: I know. It’s all wrong
By rights we shouldn’t even be here.
But we are.
It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo.
The ones that really mattered.
Full of darkness and danger they were,
and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end.
Because how could the end be happy.
How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened.
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.
Even darkness must pass.
A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you.
That meant something.
Even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.
I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t.
Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam?

Sam : That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

Particularly today, I’m remembering those who have gone before me, those whose lives have been sacrificed for me. I won’t forget…

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer
Lasterday Stories
writing through history one romance upon a time


  1. Unfortunately too many people are concerned with themselves and their rights to consider the majority

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