Strong character is the mark of a man

It’s been said that war can make men out of boys. I assume this is true.

Pondering this on Veterans Day, I turned my thoughts to my 89-year-old Dad, recipient of this year’s Western New York World War II Veteran of the Year award. Not only did he participate in 14 flying missions over Europe, but so perilous were those times that he pleaded with the good Lord that if he ever returned to the United States safely, he would find a noble purpose to aid humanity in not falling again into the evil that war perpetuates.

Dad did return and find his life’s purpose – he pursued a 40-year career in education as a principal of Heim Middle School. His favorite motto to the thousands of students to pass through his halls: “If it is to be, it is up to me.” Wow!

Yes, character development was the ultimate purpose of education in Dad’s eye. He looked to molding his students not only as future leaders in government, finance and society, but also trained in “old-fashioned” values of honesty, integrity, love of family, faith and volunteerism to the suffering right here in our community. These character attributes are the mark of a man. Just imagine our country today if we had more men and women leaders who are examples of morality and discernment.

Our veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan who returned are examples of patriotism and character. They challenge all of us to become informed citizens and vote for leaders of character. It is sorely needed in the world today.

Thank a real man when you meet one. If you can’t find one, call me and I will introduce you to my Dad.

Nancy Schaefer Woodrich