Thursday, November 14, 2013

What's More American?

Flags whisking by during the program opening
We went to the Veterans Day Program tonight at the school where my daughter is teaching third grade. It was so well done and not just because my daughter was involved. There was a theme going that restores some hope for the good ole US of A!

I was a little worried with the emphasis on the idea that our military veterans give us our freedoms. No, I believe they come from God or Nature and it is dangerous to go with the notion that the military is the grantor of freedom and rights. (Just ask South America.)

So I started thinking that maybe the nearly universal honoring of Veterans in this country is the last link we have to the concept of a shared belief in our freedom and unique culture, most of which is still good. In the old days, it seemed that there was more respect for representative democracy, our governmental institutions, the President, and Congress. Even the Postman used to get more respect. I could go on about the "government is the problem" problem, but I've covered that ground sufficiently in other posts.

It really struck me that these were the children.

Yes, we all love and no one dares not to respect the Veterans. (Well, except when it comes to budgeting deserved benefits in health, housing, education, employment training, and other economic opportunities.) We still at least all claim to love the Vets. These children certainly do as they dressed in borrowed, family uniforms to honor each branch of military service. That certainly is appropriate in November for Veterans' Day.
Over Hill, Over Dale!
I even got through their rendition of "Proud to Be an American" which really isn't that bad without the twang. Then everything changed.

Any jingoistic spirit was gone when a child got up to recite the first lines most appropriate for a program to commemorate the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row . . .
The child announced they had poppies for all present to be shared at the end of the program. They were made of red crepe. It moved me.

And then the mood changed again! Gone was the martial emphasis and the sorrow of loss. There we were celebrating our shared American Heritage! Another child recited from memory the Preamble to the Constitution! Yes! The true original intent still alive there in South Jordan! And there was more of that nature. Standard, traditional, patriotic fare with a few, pleasant nods to modernism and inclusiveness and to only a vague, ambiguous God for all creeds as in some of our patriotic tunes.

The finale was "God Bless America." OK, here I have to say it was especially good as my daughter turned to include the audience on the last verse.
God Bless US ALL. Indeed!

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