Mansfield, OH (January 24, 2022) – At GOAL Digital Academy's 2nd quarter in-service, GOAL welcomed Rick Jones II to deliver an inspiring message to the entire staff about how we can weather the current political and social storms by remembering the stories of America’s veterans. Jones taught history at River Valley Local School District for 30 years where he also coached football for 10 years. He joined GOAL for an additional 15 years and informed GOAL’s transition to a dropout and recovery school.
Jones’ recent book, Veterans’ Voices - Members of Central Ohio’s Greatest Generation Speak, shares stories of veterans from central Ohio that underscore the sacrifices they willingly made to preserve American ideals of freedom and democracy. The book is a compilation of stories Jones has gathered over several decades and a reprint of many stories he shared in his previous three books.
During his tenure as a history teacher at River Valley, the Department of Defense invited the district to become part of the World War II 50th Anniversary Commemorative Community. As part of this community, students interviewed veterans and shared their stories with the school and the local community. This experience helped students recognize how the veterans’ sacrifices led to and preserved the opportunities they have today, and he chose to publish this compilation now in hopes that others will be reminded of how hard others fought to preserve democracy and its ideals.
“I see the comparisons between today and conditions in the Civil War, such as separate news channels for the political parties,” said Jones. He explains that the division in the United States between 1850 and 1960 started with ideological disagreements that were mostly dealt with through polite discussion, but grew to deep divisions similar to what he sees today. He believes these divisions are stealing our identity as Americans and is hopeful his book can serve as a reminder that more unites us than divides us if we prioritize our collective American identity. “Sharing these stories can help us remember we have been through more difficult times and encourage people to get back up and remember our heritage,” he explained. “The Greatest Generation passed a lot to us and left us with great circumstances. We need to get up, stand on our feet and say we are Americans and we are going to make this better.”
“John Quincy Adams once told the Supreme Court, ‘Who we are is who we were,’” said Jones. He is hopeful that reminding people of the “mystic chords of memory” Lincoln referred to in his inaugural address will help us remember our history and leverage the lessons learned to weather today’s stormy political and social climate.
E-mail Rick Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a copy of his book.