It appears to be a sad but true fact that, overall, the education system in that republic called the United States of America is continually failing both its students and their parents, the ones who are paying for this now broken system. And it has been becoming worse for several decades.
In my “school days” of the 1930s and into the 1940s, we were taught the history of how our nation came to be free from captivity under a kingdom the king of which considered the colonies to be nothing more than a source of revenue and some “impressed” members of his military. In the 16th and 17th centuries, that military was the most powerful in the world, especially at sea.
We received full instruction on the privations and risks the first immigrants went through, surviving only with the kind assistance of the friendly native “Indian” tribes. Despite the mistreatment of the colonists by the British king, they were able to establish and expand the population, land area and economy of this new world. The further misconduct of the king’s military presence toward the population grew and finally, they rose up and peacefully issued a “Declaration of Independence” (in writing) from his control. He then preceded to put down the “insurrection.” With the help of God, the outnumbered and ill-equipped volunteers managed by outstanding leadership to prove victorious and thus establish the way of life and freedoms we now enjoy.
These facts are, in recent years, being left out of the curriculum of most public schools. Multiple sources of information indicates that history being taught there begins with the War Between the States, most commonly called the Civil War of the 1860s. And in more current events, much is not taught, especially the wars of the last 100-plus years. That might explain why the students, even third graders, are so interested when our World War II Vets of Tulsa visit, by invitation, and explain what went on in our own experience. That includes those of us who, through fortune, were not directly involved in combat, but were none-the-less essential to the effort.
Solid evidence of the above can be seen in the on-the-street interviews some TV shows have recently included. Many of those on camera indicate having no clue of the reason for having Memorial Day but only see this weekend as a “three-day party weekend.” If other subjects are the question, the answer seems to be the same total lack of knowledge. That is even more prevalent when the location is on the beach rather than on the street. Those interviewees are most likely to be late-teen, early 20-year-old high school and college students, and of both sexes.
Now, as this is being written, it is the legal and official Memorial Day, changed from the original May 30 some years ago to provide another 3-day weekend by statute. While the radio this morning has had substantial coverage of the reason for the observance and called for remembering the war dead who gave everything they had to gain or further the freedoms we enjoy by guarantee in the Constitution. Note, they are not granted by the Constitution, but are God-given and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
And yet we still have individuals, and groups of same, who ignore the purpose of the observance and follow their hedonistic desire for wild parties and indulgences. I have even been disappointed by the lack of reference to this particular day in our calendar in some of the churches. It seems to me that if the churches and clergy fail to give attention and expression to this particular set aside day then their attendees will begin to feel that it is really that much less important, to the detriment of our whole society.
In my own family for my lifetime, there has fortunately been no incident of being “Gold Star” – that is having a member killed on duty. However, a number of dear friends have had that experience. One lady’s father was killed in Pacific action at her tender age of three days. Another lady’s husband was killed in a plane crash after the surrender of Japan while en-route to the Pacific to provide search-and-rescue operations, possibly due to careless or incompetent planned flight route across the southern Rocky Mountains where the required altitude reportedly exceeded the loaded “service ceiling” of the PBY he was flying. While still in high school, one of my classmates, and friend, was lost to pneumonia due to a careless medical technician. That incident caused me to be much more attentive and dedicated when placed in that position.