The Interview

September 27, 2011
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My first opinion of the interview was that it was simply a grade. I was stuck here, for at least an hour, interviewing my grandfather about his life and various accomplishments during his years in the Coast Guard. It was a basic assignment- I had ten questions listed out in careful bullet points- but it was still an assignment. As I set up the video camera and adjusted the lighting, I thought about what else I could be doing- what my economics teacher would call my opportunity cost- instead of this interview. Every option seemed to be more appealing than this. I sighed, sitting down on the stiff chair and took out my notes to begin. I had no idea that as I began the interview, I was actually beginning a new stage of my life.

My grandfather wasn’t drafted. He had the option of staying home, of checking every day and praying there wasn’t a letter calling him to service. Instead, he enlisted; he was proud to service his country. In my sheltered, turn-of-the-century lifestyle, I had never before encountered such devotion, such patriotism. My grandfather wouldn’t have entered the Coast Guard if he didn’t believe with absolute certainty that the United States was the greatest nation in the world. As I interviewed him, I thought about how this certainty, this loyalty, this love, could enhance someone’s life. If I could only apply the certainty he had, to my daily life. From that day forward, I was determined to live passionately. As Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” As the year passed, I dwelled on this, whist further developing my love for history. I was fascinated with how people responded to certain events, how the world changed, how through its existence, humanity showed it light and dark side. It wasn’t until I interviewed my grandfather that I truly discovered my passion for history and the power of patriotism.

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