It's not just that I read and loved her novel To Kill a Mockingbird as a young woman. It's that I was given the gift of teaching it for many years, and in doing so, I witnessed my students' growth as readers and thinkers. As a teacher, there is really no better gift than that. It is immeasurable. I am so grateful to Ms. Lee for this gift.
Poppies have become the symbol for fallen soldiers -- all our soldiers, of all our wars. Charlie and Jack went on to lead long, productive lives after their military service. They left us peacefully. With every respect and honor for those who died in Flanders Fields a century ago, I dedicate McCrae's beautiful poem to Charlie and our mutual friend Jack.
Just a couple of days before Jack left us, I went to look at his bluebonnets one more time. They were looking even more fragile and their blue color was even more faded than before. But next spring they will be back again, even more beautiful, strong and resilient, just like my good friend always was and always will be.