Patriotism, Kids, and T-Shirts

Almost daily there is a story, an anecdote, or a report about a school in America where students who are wearing patriotic shirts or symbols are being sent home, asked to turn their shirts inside out, or given another shirt to wear. The reason usually given is that the attire creates an uncomfortable situation for other students, or could cause trouble or a conflict situation. These are American schools. Are we not teaching our young to honor the nation in which they were born or have chosen to call their own? When students who honor their country and their heritage by  the wearing of attire, the stars and stripes of our nation, are harassed and sent home on Cinco de Mayo Day, or any other day, it is time for citizens to go to war, a war that restores education in America to its founder’s dreams.

One needs only to look at Washington’s address to his army in camp on Long Island:

 “The time is now near at hand, which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves, whether their homes and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed and themselves to be consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human effort will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and the conduct of this army. Our Cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of a brave resistance or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or to die.”

Yes, the time is now at hand to determine whether our schools will be instruments for freedom or for the transformation of our country to slavery. Will our schools be instruments to that cause or will our schools rise up and be instruments of freedom, instruments of honor and truth?

Washington continued: 

“Our own, our country’s honor, calls upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion. If we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings and praises if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the tyranny meditated against them. Let us, therefore, animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a freeman contending for liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.”

We have had the eyes of the world upon us from the inception of our country. There were more abroad, I believe, who understood the special nature of our great land than perhaps there were among us who grew up with liberty and assumed that it could always be with us. I am keenly aware that my liberty as I’ve been privileged to live it for the 92 years I have been given, is very much in jeopardy.

It is the eye that I have upon myself that compels me to write this document. I have given my life to serving in a profession for which I still have great passion. But I wonder what I could have done earlier, what I could have contributed to the minds of our new generations to preserve the tenets of our founders. All know that to transform a country you must control the minds of the young. You must erode the values, that stand in the way of the transformation. You must guide students’ thinking away from the founding principles of our nation.

Those of us who refuse to allow the transformers to have their way know too, that we have allowed others to re-write our history books. We have allowed multicultural ideas and activities to become the god of plurality and diversity. No people could possibly be more diverse than the multitudes from around the world that came to our shores. But they did not carry the flags of their nation on our holidays; they proudly carried the American flag and sang our national songs. Yes, they added the richness of their culture to blend into the culture of this new, great land. From their easel of experiences and varied backgrounds, they painted the great portrait that became  America.

We have become afraid to be proud of our country, the country that millions have sought to call their own. We have taught our young to apologize for being American rather than teaching them to demonstrating their love, respect, pride, and gratitude for being a fortunate inhabitant of the “Shining City on the Hill.”



Anerica First–Status of Our Ship of State

 America First  was published in 1916 by the American Book Company. It was written by Jasper L. McBrien, who at the time of the writing was School Extension Specialist for the United States Bureau of Education, and a former Superintendent of Public Instruction of Nebraska.

McBrien writes in the Foreward:

The rising generation, both native-born and foreign, to get the full meaning of this slogan (America First) in its far-reaching significance, must have time for study and reflection along patriotic lines. There must be the right material on which the American youth may settle their thoughts for a definite end in patriotism if our country is to have a new birth of freedom and if ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not to perish from the earth.’ The prime and vital service of amalgamating into one homogenous body the children alike of those ho are born here and of those who come here from so many different lands must be rendered this Republic by the school teachers of America.  

Brien continues: The purpose of this book is to furnish the teachers and pupils of our country, material with which the idea of true Americanism may be developed until ‘America First’ shall become the slogan of every man, woman, and child in the United States.

 I cannot say it better.

I have lived most of the years since this book was published. I have lived the changes. I believe that we need a large dose of patriotism now more than ever before. In my 92 years, I have seen our ship of state on so many different courses. Sometimes we seem rudderless; this always seems so tragic when we have been given by our Founders the greatest set of maps, our founding documents, ever devised for any people with which to keep a ship of state on course. They were carefully designed to make certain that the government was of the people, by the people, and for the people.

I fear the shoals, the rocks, the reefs, and horrific storms ahead. The folks in Washington, D.C. the past few weeks have managed to keep the ship afloat for a short period of time, but the ship of state has taken on much water and I believe is listing badly. And the captain of the ship was missing from the helm. This morning, October 17, 2013, he broadcast a message to the passengers of the ship. Mr. President, if you would do what you asked the passengers and the crew to do, our ship would be whole again. Please listen to what you so aptly preached this morning. However, your words during the past weeks,”I will not negotiate,” are words that will certainly land our ship on more rocks. And as our ship takes on the water of partisanship, derision, hate, and acute political nastiness, our nation, this incredible experiment in government, will no longer be the shining city on a hill. We will no longer be the America that has been free, a nation composed of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and others, who were first Americans. We will be searching for the light of freedom. We will no longer be the America that was first in science, technology, invention, compassion, aid to others, opportunity, freedom of choice, individual responsibility, freedom of religion, speech, and assembly.

America needs to be first, not in pride, but in humility and gratefulness. O captain, o captain! Where are you steering my beloved ship?

Religious Freedom and Our Schools

One of the more amazing things that I have come to examine more and more is how cleverly the transformers have used “religious freedom,” one of the great tenets on which our Founders based everything. Diabolically, they have taken this great foundation of tolerance for all religions and turned it on its back. They used our deep desire for tolerance of religion to preach to us about tolerance in all areas. While they are extracting tolerance from us, they are free to practice intolerance. If we show the least bit of resistance, they know how to make most of us feel guilty. They have most certainly used all areas of our society when and how ever they could.

They have flooded our schools with multiculturalism. They have used our national instincts for tolerance to promote their agenda. While they have been removing more and more Christian ideas and ideals from our books, they have been putting more and more about other religions in our school books. While they are teaching our kids more and more about tolerating other religion, they have been distorting the historical facts about the religious content of our beginnings.

Universities, where I have spent much of my career, are the worst offenders. To find a conservative professor is quite a task. I have taught my classes during student strikes; I was told by my peers that I must not do that. Opposing the strike was not a good political move. I insisted that I was only conforming with what they were striking for—freedom of speech and assembly. If the students who were striking had the right to not attend class, then the students who wanted to attend class must have the same right. Oddly, no one seemed to be able to dispute that logic.

Universities are populated with boatloads of Marxists. Many don’t outwardly admit to the name, but they teach and indoctrinate their students with those ideals. Most young people who attend the liberal colleges, most are, come home after a short time to discuss with their parents if conservative, how wrong they are. “You don’t understand. Your way of thinking is old fashioned. There are more modern ways of thinking about our political system and our economy.”

The change in many, including my own, occurs when they get their first pay check and discover how little “they have left” after all the deductions are made. “Mom, this is not fair.” It’s a natural place to take them back to what you taught them in the first place. They find an eternal truth. Old doesn’t mean bad or outdated. So it is with our Founding Documents, our founding ideals, and our God given rights. They are no more out of style than the Bible is for a Christian. .

Churches have been used extensively to fight the battles of the transformers. The strange part of this is that one would expect most religions to want to keep Christ in Christmas, would want to keep our Christian beginnings in the textbooks and in our teaching, and our God given rights ever before our student’s eyes as God given rather than government given. I suspect that sometimes our church people are the most vulnerable to the tolerance pleas and the subsequent guilt that follows if they don’t succumb.

Our School Boards that succumb to the distortion of the holidays, who don’t follow what’s in their textbooks or what is being taught in their classrooms, are also at fault. It is difficult at that level to know. Often you are “protected” from knowing for the fear of “micromanagement.” Our young people are in school many hours a day during their formative years. The battle that Texas and other states fought and are fighting, belongs to all of us. The inclusions and exclusions in our textbooks are critical to our future. As McBrien said in America First many years ago, “There must be the right material on which the American youth may settle their thoughts for a definite end in patriotism if our country is to have a new birth of freedom and if “this government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not to perish from the earth.”  This is so true for this day.





Stand at the Ready

Nature is filled with lessons. Early this morning I ventured out into the yard; I didn’t even make it to the end of the driveway before I stopped. The sight was so illuminating even though the scene in the distance still lay in fog that made everything beyond three football fields in length a blob of white. But about illumination–my surroundings were a picture, a temporary sketch to shed light. I could only gain insight from the scene, if I were ready to learn. There is a wonderful saying that is appropriate to any moment in our lives: When the student is ready, the teacher appears. It beckons us to “stand at the ready.”

This morning when I looked to the south I could see the small flowers in the field below; just below the flowers, the avocado trees stood in bold relief. They stood tall and distinct, obviously pleased with the last wonderful rain we received. As  my eyes drifted down the slope, nothing was distinct. There was this wall of obscurity. Nothing shimmering; just a wall of white, dense flatness.

The scene was changing faster than a stage crew changes the scenery for the second act of a play. To the east, the sun was speaking. Things were rapidly taking shape as the sun became the stage crew. The trees and mountains took shape until everything in the east was out of the fog and into the light. The light became a clarifying source and force. It was amazing how fast the light changed the scene. Wow. Within minutes the light had dissipated and then eradicated the fog that had clouded the landscape.

The teacher appeared. Look to the light and watch the fog disappear.  So often we are in the fog of worry or grief or anger. You add your own fogs. Whatever the fog is, it brings distress and dis-ease. Thinking is difficult. Often our fogs bring negativity into our thinking, Look to the light; fog of any density is dissipated with light. Truth, joy, compassion, friendliness, integrity, edification, tolerance, positive thinking, hope, charity, and faith all shed light on any fog that enters our personal space.

No, I did not forget the greatest enemy of fog. It is love. In the landscape of unconditional love there is no obscurity; there is no vagueness or indefiniteness. There is clarity and definition in the light of love. But we must look to the light. Even if you turn away, it will shine over your shoulder as if someone had tapped you lightly to remind you of something important. It will be like the sun in the east this morning; no ambiguity there.

As I watched, I learned the lessons of light again, the lessons of light in the simplicity and complexity of the morning sky.. It clears away the deepest fog. And as the sun moves across the sky, this evening I will see the tapestry of the sky turn to red and gold as the sun leaves me to continue its lessons of light in another land.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. Each year of my 92 years, I have learned more about “standing at the ready.,”




World War II Memorials–Hostage to Political Games

This morning I watched the news as  U.S. veterans of  World War II stood outside the locked gates of the Normandy Beach Memorial in France. A couple days ago, I watched veterans in front of barricades at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The sign posted told them it was closed due to the “shutdown of the government.” In France, some walked the hallowed beaches where thousands of American military men died. Perhaps they could find another way to storm the Memorial. In our nation’s capital, I watched World War II veterans in wheel chairs and some walking with canes, and others still walking tall, stand in front of specially erected barricades in front of their monument.   If this does not tug at the pangs of reason, anger,  and sadness at this sight,  not much will.

This monstrous act of pettiness and politics is beyond comprehension. This is about the next election. The game is: Who can we hurt the most? Who will shoulder the most  blame? What nasty things can we conjure up about the other political party? What can we close that will get us the most news coverage? It is political calculation at its worst.

I do know one thing: The Commander in Chief could honor his troops and veterans by keeping their places of honor open. He is skilled at issuing executive orders. This would be a good one to issue. Or perhaps hecould rescind any order from the administration to close these hallowed places where the echoes of the sacrifices of those who lie there fill the air or the names on the marble cry out for the justice and honor they deserve.

The election is more than a year away. Veterans stand at these gates and memorial sites every day. I am a veteran of World War II. I lived with the news of the cost of the island battles in the Pacific. I had friends who flew the fighters and bombers over Europe. I lived with the fear of my husband battling in the Pacific. I know first-hand from a friend what he experienced on the Bataan death march. I know first-hand from a friend who flew flight after flight in a B-17 over Europe what it was like to come home “on a wing and a prayer.”

What do veterans feel while standing in front of a memorial built in their honor that is closed? Particularly one that has no gate and special barriers had to be erected to keep them out.. I want to take an Honor Flight to the World War II Memorial. It better not be closed because those who are elected to serve us are playing political games.

France may seem as distant as the next election. The honor earned by those who lie there is not distant. The pictures of the thousands storming the beaches and the pictures of those who died there live in our hearts and in our memories. You cannot lock those gates or erect barriers to remove the acts of bravery, sacrifice, selflessness, and the willingness to give all for freedom that these dead voices proclaim.

A family member just returned from one of the Honor Flights to visit the World War II Memorial. As he stood at the site that names the battles in the Pacific Islands, his daughter who accompanied him, learned of the battles in which he fought. Island after island after island. Yes, she said, “Many cried.” They could still name the comrades they had lost. We are all old now. But we remember. We ask you to remember. These sites are worthy of the honor they deserve for the very high price these veterans paid. The spirits of those who earned these honors rest in peace when honored, and writhe in agony when used for political games.