Laura Anaya

School Liaison

I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all He has done to make it possible for me to do volunteer work in my community and for my country. This experience has lead me to believe that inner joy comes from serving the needs of other people. They thank me. I thank them. Together we become one in experiencing something very beautiful, a blossomed friendship. Neither miles nor death can separate true friendships. The memories are blessings that seal us and bond the human soul forever.

My father, now 84, inspired me with the understanding of the American Veteran. He himself was a 17 years old a Merchant Marine and later joined the Marine Corps. Our evening porch conversations educated me with clear understanding of what it means to have courage and to be brave and that Patriotic means to have a love for your country. “American men and women who are brave and courageous and Patriotic”, he said, “are in our military”. Hearing endless brave, courageous and Patriotic stories led me to develop my weaknesses such as being shy and incompetent to perform anything outside of myself. The Veteran has lead me to believe that to be brave and courageous develops character. So stepping out of my comfort zone and insecurities I was able to:

-Tutor children with speech impediments in an elementary school in El Paso, Texas
-Help with the American Cancer Society Auction Committee Member raising money for ACCH (Albuquerque Christian Children’s Home)
-BSF Children’s Leader (Bible Study Fellowship) teaching Jesus to children.
-Prepared hot meals for Ronald McDonald house to families with terminally ill children.
-Currently volunteer at my church now 8 years and
-Currently volunteer with Veterans’ of Post 142 in San Luis, CO
-Future Plan: VA Hospital in Albuquerque.

On a cool afternoon, my husband and I took a stroll through the Memorial Garden. I was mesmerized by the monuments and sculptures. Shadowed lightly by limbs of trees, stood proudly ‘The Buffalo Soldier’. Near lush bushes and more trees knelt in prayer a life size Vietnam soldier before a field cross paying his respects to his comrade. And not to mention the sweet fragrance of hundreds of pink and red roses in full bloom everywhere! In a breathless whisper I said to my husband, “I have to be a part of this place.” My husband said, “I knew you were going to say that.” So here I am volunteering at the NMVM amongst the beauty and the pride. By the way, dear friends, this is not a cemetery but a place to reflect and commemorate those who have died in wars. This is a private space for you to interact with family and friends and together share memories, photographs, love and respect.

OMGosh! On my first day at the Greeters’ desk I was a bit nervous, but yet excited. Inside me anxiety was building up. Then it happened. Someone walked through the door. It wasn’t just anybody. It was an American Veteran wearing one of those hats, standing right before my eyes! Those my dad and I talked about on the porch. He asked me a question I couldn’t answer but thanked me for the biggest smile he’d ever seen. Boy, was that a rush!!

I once worked as a paid employee for the Albuquerque Public Library and its branches. Now as a volunteer, I apply my experiences to the museum library and help our lovely library assistant, Candace. Together we catalog donated military books, from the Revolutionary War to the currant wars. We transfer old tape interviews of veterans both men and women onto CD’s to preserve them and much, much more. After wards we stuff our mouths with chocolate donuts and get sick. Not funny!

Around the corner the loud engines roar. The shiny gargantuan Diamond tour buses packed with tourists from all over the United States enter the gates at a snail’s pace and then sh-h-h the engines shut down as they park. My heart begins to pound. Boom! Boom! Boom! Not to a beat of fear but of excitement. As a docent, there is no greater privilege I have ever experienced in my life than to be the one to share with our out of town guests the rich history this place provides that I believe sits on sacred ground.

As the NMVM School Liaison, my goal among other duties is to invite all schools to make a field trip to our facility. We are in the midst of developing new and creative ideas so our children and young adults will have the best experience and want to come back again and again.

I read this quote, ‘a soldier is not dead until they are forgotten.’ A small child sitting near our Fallen Friend Monument looked up to me and whispered, “Wady, I will nevor foget our vetwens. Dey desurv wats of wespect. I will wemember dem wen I pway and give dem a hi fi wen I see one.” ……SWEET!!!

This little tender heart got the message and others like his I believe will never let anyone forget our ‘Vetwens’.

God Bless America!

 

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