The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Thomas Jefferson 1787
There was a time in our great nation when our youth began learning at a very young age the importance of the ultimate sacrifices made by our military to our nation. There was a time when an active duty soldier, sailor, airman or marine was regarded in the very highest esteem. Be they alive and on active duty or be they a veteran both alive or deceased, our former defenders of liberty were always treated with dignity and respect.
I can remember vividly (going back to the 3rd and 4th grade), our school principal coming over the loud speaker in our classroom every morning. He would do the announcements for the day, then lead our school in our morning prayer and concludes with the pledge of allegiance to the flag standing in the corner of the classroom.
In the 3rd and 4th grades, we began learning who the Pilgrims were, why they came to America (and yes, we were taught that they came for religious freedoms), who George Washington and even Abraham Lincoln were. As I entered Junior High (now I think it’s called Middle-School), we began taking classes in Texas history. This was a requirement in the Lone Star State. We learned of the heroics of the brave men at the Alamo, about our previous presidents from Texas, how Texas was actually a separate nation at one time and that General Sam Houston all but walked on water. The bottom line was that, all through my school years, we were taught not just Texas history but American history. There was not a semester that went by where I was not taking a government course, history course, early American history, more recent history or some class learning more about our nation.
I will tell a funny story about this. Some years later (even after I had attended college for a bit), at the tender age of 40 something, I got the bright idea to go back to college (more for fun than anything else) and take more college credit hours. I enrolled at Black Hills State University and one of the courses I decided to take “American History (and something to do with) The Industrial Age”. I probably botched the exact title of the course, but you get the idea. The course was about our history spanning the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s.
Keep in mind that most of the students were late teens through early 20’s in this class. Also, keep in mind that, for me personally, this was a fun class, not something that I had to have, but something to pass the time and keep my little brain active. Something very relevant here; by this time in my life, I was a devoted “Ditto-Head” (Rush Limbaugh groupie), had owned businesses, paid a couple of employees, made money, gone broke and everything in between. I was also a devout Republican voter who despised liberalism (and still do).
Sometime around the 4th or 5th class, we had officially gotten into the meat of the class and the professor began espousing (what was very noticeable) his disdain for folks like the Vanderbilt’s, Carnegie’s, Rockefellers, Getty’s and many more. In fact, there was a book that he wanted everyone to read entitled “The Robber Barron’s”. By the end of the 5th class, I had decided I was going to have some fun with this tweed wrapped, pipe smoking, liberal college professor.
The start of week 3 brought a short pop-quiz on our knowledge of the aforementioned book we were supposed to be reading. After the quiz, he decided he wanted to discuss the quiz. He threw out a couple of questions and I promptly raised my hand and asked my own question that was an answer to his question. “Mr. Professor Sir; allow me to ask a question about this book and the rat trail you’re taking us down. Had the Robber Barron’s as you want to call them, not done what they did, do you think we would have had railroads, assembly lines invented, shipping go global opening up markets worldwide or oil discovered or steal factories or anything else that allowed us to become the most prosperous nation the world has ever known“?
The tweed wrapped pipe smoking professor was speechless, called me out into the hall and asked me to drop the class. That ended my college days, except I did keep attending my weekly golf class.
The point here is this. I learned early on the price our earlier Americans had paid for our freedom from not just the British Monarchy, but Spain, France, the Japanese and Germans. I learned what blood had been spilled that created Arlington National Cemetary (where my father is laid to rest) and I learned the pride we have as Americans.
Today, many schools don’t teach the back stories of heroics or even of a place named Iwo Jima or Omaha Beach. Schools today are not teaching about George Washington and the fact he actually lost many battles and the few he won, he attributed to God’s intervention. They are not teaching the true story of Francis Scott Key and his sitting on a prison ship in Baltimore Harbor that led to his writing of a poem which was later put to music for our national anthem. Most don’t know that it started as a poem.
Did you even know that during the Civil War, all the land around Mt. Vernon was destroyed by cannon fire between the North and the South?Not one blade of grass at Mt. Vernon was touched. Both Union and Confederate soldiers used to stop by the home of Washington. As they passed through the front gates, the soldiers laid their weapons down, turned their coats inside out and paid their respects (George and Martha are both buried at his home) to our nation’s first president as Americans, not as opposing forces. As they left the plantation, they would turn their coats around, pick up their arms and go back to the field of battle.
Learning our history is learning respect for our nation. Learning respect for our nation is learning that we must sacrifice for our nation, not have the nation sacrifice for us. We must work hard to preserve our country, build our country and we must work even harder to preserve liberty.
If your children are not being taught about the blood spilled for this great country and why then it is up to us to teach them. Get involved in your children’s education and teach them the truth. Columbus did not come to America to enslave Indians. Henry Ford did not invent the Model A to destroy the ozone layer and create global warming.
May each of you have a blessed, safe and peaceful Memorial Day as we remember those that gave so much so we can live in freedom.
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