Celebrate the Past!
It took me thirty years to find my calling, but there were hints of what I would become. Maybe it was my pre-school passion for the U.S. Presidents or getting lost among the encyclopedias in elementary school. Perhaps I caught a glimpse of my future self when my father took me to my first battlefields at The Cowpens and Petersburg one marvelous summer.
Being an Army brat further exposed me to much of Western Europe at an early age. I was particularly inspired by the castles of Italy and the Swiss Alps. I went on to compete in History for the regional Academic Olympics. My senior trip was a visit to Washington D.C., my nation's capital. By the time I was twenty, I was a soldier stationed in Turkey, and I could boast of seeing both Rome (at a distance) and Constantinople.
Fast forward about ten years, after a stalled journalism career and a period of soul-searching. Encouraged by my wife, I took a summer history course at Western Carolina University under Dr. Gerald Schwartz. It changed my life and I became a major in History. It was like rediscovering an old friend who patiently awaited me by the roadside. Soon afterward, I became a graduate student in History and began researching on the foundations of my first two books. I had found my calling!
Today, I have my doctorate and I am actively pursuing my dream of being a historian. Ten years of teaching for West Virginia University has taught me the most important lesson about the classroom. Each time I stand before my students, or post a weekly forum to my online class, I have been given another opportunity to celebrate the past. No matter where my journeys take me, I am one with History.