Michael R. Freimuth

Great Smoky Mountains

For five generations spanning over one hundred years my family has resided across the northern New Jersey landscape.  The earliest members of my family arrived in the United States through Ellis Island during the administration of President William Howard Taft as part of the tide of “New Immigrants” in pursuit of a better future.  My maternal great-grandfather was a butcher who established his business and settled his family on Atlantic Street on the south side of Paterson.  His daughter, my grandmother, attended Central High School where she met her future husband, my grandfather.  Both of my maternal grandparents earned degrees from William Paterson and established careers for themselves in the teaching profession within Passaic County.  My mother is a Registered Nurse with over thirty years of experience and spent over a decade of her career serving as the Instructor of Nursing at the New Jersey Veterans Home in Paramus.

I was born in September 1986 and have spent the majority of my life residing in the suburbs of Paterson.  My early life was predominantly spent developing an appreciation for the history of the United States as well as cheering for the New York Mets to win a World Series, or at the very least for the Yankees to not do so.  After graduating from high school I attended the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia where I graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in History and American Studies while intermittently volunteering and working for the National Park Service at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  As a Civil War buff who feels Gettysburg has received its fair share of attention from historians and the general public, attending college and working in Fredericksburg seemed to be a logical decision since the battlefields in that region were also vital to the war.

After graduation I did not pursue further employment with the National Park Service and instead chose to serve in the United States Army since the nation remained engaged in a global conflict in the fight against terrorism.  As an educated young man whose country was grappling to obtain permanent success I possessed an obligation to serve the nation which provided generations of my family with the conditions and environment that allowed for our continued pursuit and realization of the “American Dream.” I proudly and honorably served my country in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky-Tennessee border while training for my imminent deployment.  While training with my unit in the months leading up to our deployment I became known to my colleagues as “Professor.” This nickname was bestowed on me as a result of my habit of always having a history book on me and reading it during breaks in the day from training.  In early March 2010 my unit deployed for a yearlong tour to the Kandahar region of southern Afghanistan.  In late-February 2011 I returned to Fort Campbell for five months before departing from active duty status.  Though I had not lived there for seven years, I returned to the only region I had ever really considered home and once again settled in northern New Jersey on the outskirts of Paterson.

At the present time I am employed in my third year of teaching high school American history.  Forever I will remain immeasurably proud of my military service and shall forever in my heart keep the memories of those I served with overseas, but presently I cannot imagine a more rewarding experience than educating the future of our nation and sharing with them the story of our country.  I cherish the opportunity I have been blessed with to engage students to think critically and prepare themselves for their future.  Though I spend my days in front of a classroom full of students, twice a week in the evenings I attend graduate school seeking my M.A. in History in an effort to set an example for my students and further advance my own ability to educate them.  I cannot imagine a life outside the realm of public service and look forward to the joys my career will afford me as I continue to teach and prepare our nation’s future to serve the nation how they each see best.

Thanks to my grandparents, who were Brooklyn Dodgers fans, I have inherited their hatred for the Yankees and today I remain eagerly awaiting to see the Mets win the World Series.  I like to tell people my favorite teams are the Mets and whoever is playing the Yankees on that particular day.  I enjoy visiting different regions of the United States and immersing myself in getting to know the local populations and understanding how people in other parts of the United States live.  I am always soliciting suggestions from others on where to visit next.

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