Martha Cothren

Written by ahq_admin

14 May 2015

Hi all,

Before I do anything else tonight I need to say a big happy birthday to my sons Linton and Mitchell.  They probably won’t read this but that does not matter.  Today they turn 19 years old. They are independent, intelligent and strong and are making their way in the world on their own terms. I wish them lives full of happiness, love and a wealth of all the things that really matter.  

This year, more than any other, I am so conscious of the fact that I have them at home, safe and sound, while other mothers’ 19 year olds head off on deployment or postings far away from their families. One young friend of mine just left on Sunday, for a posting, his first ever, in Darwin. He will be fine, his partner (also 19) and his family will take longer to adjust to his absence.

Last night I sat next to a friend at dinner whose son is likely to deploy later in the year.  He has a job that he loves and isn’t that what you want for your children?   As mothers you want them to go and be good at what they do and confident in their choices but that does not make you any less fearful for their physical and mental health and well-being.

Today, perhaps more than any other day, I am thinking of the other mothers out there who bear their sons’s and daughters’ absences and service stoically and with a brave front, whilst holding their feelings inside.  Thank you for your sacrifice as well.    It is not forgotten.  xxxx

I am sharing a post with a difference tonight.  Sometimes I think we need to stop and think about whether we really appreciate what those who came before us have done for us, the legacy they left for us.  As if you didn’t know, I am passionate about thanking our troops for their service and the sacrifice that service asks of them, and also of their families and loved ones.  

Jeann, one of our quilters, shared this with me and I just had to share it with you.

In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a History teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock , did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in her classroom. When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.
‘Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?’
She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.’
They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades.’ ‘No,’ she said.
‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’ She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’
And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom. Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television news crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.
The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom. Martha Cothren said, ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.’
At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.
Martha said, ‘You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.’
By the way, this is a true story. And this teacher was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006. She is the daughter of a WWII POW.
Do you think this email is worth passing along so others won’t forget either, that the freedoms we have in this great country were earned by our U.S. Veterans?… I did.

Let us always remember the men and women of our military and the rights they have won for us.

I bet you think it is too good to be true….. one of those myths that get passed around on Facebook or elsewhere…. well I checked it out and it is absolutely true.  Google the name and read for yourself.  

If only there were more teachers like Martha!

Till next time……………..keep spreading the word and happy stitching!
Jan-Maree  xx

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  1. Sue Niven

    Thank you Martha, Thank you Jan-Maree.

  2. Jacqui D

    Oh, what a wonderful story to share….thankyou Jan-Maree and Martha and all our troops x


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