So that backward glance to the 60s reveals that what we thought was just a blip in our history— Yankee imperialism, force-feeding Christianity on non-Christian cultures (trust me, I heard it all), and the best gag of all, our warmongering being forced on a culture of youth who only Yowanted to groove and get in touch with whatever visions peyote buds could produce. Yeah, man!
Fifty years later, we’ve seen those innocent children of the sun morph into the most vicious cultural nihilists since Adolf Hitler set loose the storm-trooper hounds on the people of Germany in the decade befote he launched the Second World War.
A few weeks ago I asked the question, what is it that causes a man to join the army, and risk his neck. when he doesn’t have to?
Our Allen Ness, the real sojur of this VeteransTales enterprise, replied that patriotism as I had it described in school in the 60s, had little to do with it; Pledge of Allegiance from 4th grade on, Sunday School about right and wrong, stories of American heroes, Washington, Franklin, Lincoln, in Social Studies, American civics in 9th grade, American History and American Government 11th-12th grade.
What I didn’t know was that Allen, a school kid in the 80s, in all likelihood had very little of the patriotic nature of America ever taught to him in the first place.
Get this: For over 30 years American school children in public schools have never heard the phrase “we hold these truths to be self-evident”! Still, let me tell you what some Soviet law professors did when they heard those lines for the first time in 1991.
My Vietnam generation had “America” taught to them in some manner or the other since 4th Grade. It was in all the textbooks. But most of us slept through it anyway. All my history teachers sounded like Ben Stein as Ferris Bueller’s teacher. Remember him? Boring. We didn’t know it then, but American education had been turning ever-so-slowly and surely “progressive” since the Wilson era in the early 1900s.
I loved history though, and I got mine from little 35-cent paperbacks at the drug store, the school library, and of course, movies, both in theaters and on television. Yes, it was Hollywood history, but in my day they taught love of country and love of your buddy next to you in a foxhole. Almost every war movie and western was a version of that theme.
And the good ones still are.
In coming articles we’ll be making a How-To list to grab kids who are bored stiff, or haven’t ever given much thought loving this country, or the shoulders they stand on very much thought.
The trick will be to place veterans in front of small groups of those kids, then watch the program grow based on how well you can tell them really interesting things they didn’t know.
I’ve always believed certain subjects like history should be taught with a certain enthusiasm and teaching the relevance of certain aspects of our history instead of teaching factoids, just so kids can pass a multiple choice test.
Your job will not be giving tests, but to lodge certain thoughts in their brains so they can call those things up later on when the subject comes up again.
In the mid-90s, I taught American Government and History to several classes of inner city black mothers and found this Enthusiasm and Relevance Method of teaching very effective. Those classes were a great success.
So I know this program works.
Did you know that Abraham Lincoln is almost never mentioned in high school history books anymore…earning just a couple of paragraphs in modern texts. I’m not sure who gets the credit for freeing the slaves these days, only it sure wasn’t Lincoln or those 450,000 volunteers who died doing the heavy lifting.
I haven’t read those modern textbooks, but I’m guessing they were written by people who really don’t like America as founded…and I’m thinking that those may be the same people who were trying to burn Chicago down in1968, and it’s their children, only multiplied by a factor of a thousand, who’ve threated to rip it all up and start over again with the kind of government more suitable to their sense of superiority.
After all, we’ve turned over entire university departments to their care and propagandizing for the past forty years. It may take awhile but someday the kids you teach may help close those departments down and send those professors back to working the rag line at the car wash.
So, To 1) Veterans, 2) Veterans Support and Fraternal Groups, 3) Community and Civic Organizations, 4) Home-school groups, 5) Church groups, and anyone interested in denying Big Education control over your children’s minds:
What we will begin doing here and at our Foundation Home site is begin laying out for Veterans and support organizations how they can join together to establish all sorts of programs for young kids, as young as 10-12, and as old as high school seniors, most via class room lectures but also voluntary boot camps….all managed and operated by veterans.
No one, and I mean no one, has more credibility, street cred, to teach these subjects than veterans, including one-armed, one-legged and wheel chair-bound vets.
You will be like a missionary, in that you will be talking to a bunch of non-believers. Only your job will not be to bring them over. You can’t do that in an hour, or even three. Your job will be to plant something in the back of their minds that will always come to the front of their minds when certain subjects comes up, part words, part images. (I’ll outline that in a future lesson.)
If we do this right, the kids you teach will spread what you teach to others by osmosis. You will speak with authority because you know a thing or two because you’ve seen a thing or two.
And these will be paying gigs. You’ll not be volunteers.
If you are a veteran and are interested in being a part of this project, just contact me, via email, at VBushmills@yahoo.com or VassarB@gmail.com.
Tell me your name, service, age, dates of service, and where you live. Feel free to tell me a little bit about yourself. I will reply right away. I’ll also send you a phone number, Twitter handle and Facebook address for future reference.
Then we’ll find national and local groups from your locality who may be willing to start building that bridges and we’ll facilitate.
There’s only two of us now, but expect this office to grow once we can get the national and community support. We need a 12 hour a day for coast to coast access. Within a year I’m counting on dozens of groups nationally joining in with us.
If you want to teach, we can supply the teaching materials and local access.
In the meantime, I’ll be posting here 30-minute lectures, and some teaching guides which will deal with certain patriotic themes, so you can print them out and use as templates.
Since most kids don’t like being preached to, we have to develop new ways to grab their attention. When I taught those young mothers in Cincinnati, I began every first lecture by drawing a straight line across the board, then marking one end with “5000 BC, and EGYPT”, and at the other end marking it “1993”. I then moved back a few inches and put another mark, and marked in “1787” and marked the “United States”.
I then turned to the class and said, “This is how long man has been civilized, over 7000 years. The greatest civilizations and dynasties, kings and emperors known to man are on this line.”
“Now tell me, how many of these countries ever sent their armies to rescue or set free other peoples?”
The ladies starting shuffling their feet. “Anyone?”
I held up my hand and one finger. “One. Only one. And it started right here.” I went back to the board and just next to the 1787 hashmark I put another and marked it “1860”. “That’s right, the American Civil War, only America didn’t exactly send its sons, for they almost all volunteered. And nearly half a million of them died to set free black people they had never seen, or ever knew by name. 450,000 young men. In the history of the world that had never happened before. Or since, except by America, who has done it several more times, and while some of them weren’t the best thought-out plans, Vietnam comes to mind, others say Iraq, Americans keep lining up to serve, Defending or freeing enslaved people were a large part of the plan.”
Their jaws dropped.
Then, after I had their attention, I got on with teaching America from a new perspective for them, and I included a lot of “Firsts” in those lectures, for there are many “Did you know’s” to begin a lecture and grab their attention.
We didn’t have internet in those days, but today, I would finish my introduction with this 2 minute film about one of the last battles of World War II, when the US invaded the Philippines to free those people from the Japanese who had conquered them four years earlier.
With high school kids it might take maybe a minute to set this film up, as to the way this rear gunner was shot and why they couldn’t get him out of the aircraft. Just look at that gaping hole where Gunner Dean sat.
The rest speaks for itself.
You’ll never have to explain John 15:13 “No greater love” every again, or that American volunteers are the only people in the history of the world to have practiced it.
And still do.
This picture will stay with them forever.
As a missionary once said, “Teaching is easy, gathering the audience together is hard.”
(Come follow this plan as it develops at VeteransTales.org)
[cross-posted on Veterans’ Tales]