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When a Washington state school opted out of Veterans Day

U.S. veteran holding American flag.
U.S. veteran holding American flag. | Getty Images

Grade-school children in a Washington state school won’t be taught to honor those who have served our country. Instead of a Veterans Day celebration, the school has a peace and tolerance assembly.

The school-wide gathering was scheduled for Nov. 15 at Benjamin Rush Elementary in Redmond, Washington, and has apparently left out any acknowledgment of Veterans Day.

Laura Wellington of the Western Journal writes of the school, “They decided to hold a ‘peace assembly’ on Nov. 15 to honor the ‘International Day of Tolerance’ sponsored by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.”

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Jason Rantz on KTTH radio decried this move on the part of Benjamin Rush Elementary. He said, “The school administration has moved strongly away from pride in our traditions and American history.”

Forget those who served this country so we have freedom, so that children can participate in peace assemblies. Forget the legacy of Benjamin Rush, the school’s namesake — one of our founding fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Benjamin Rush once said in his 1787 piece, “A Plan for Free Schools”: “Let the children ... be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education.” Somehow I doubt that the children of Benjamin Rush Elementary today would learn any of that.

Regardless of the views of the politically correct that control so much of our culture today, including virtually all levels of education, we are free because of those who served this country in uniform.

John Rich the country singer noted recently: “Many of our young people think freedom is inherited and not earned.”

Tragically, many veterans today feel unappreciated by the nation for which they served. Who blames them? In some cases, they have permanent scars or handicaps because of their service.

Many suffer from PTSD and depression. notes, that 17 veterans die by suicide daily — one facet of a major mental health crisis facing America.

And yet, on Veterans Day 1986, then-President Ronald Reagan said, “Let us reflect on the great achievements of those whose sacrifices preserved our freedom and our way of life. With a spirit of pride and gratitude, let us recall their heroic accomplishments and thank them for their unselfish devotion to duty. They are indeed worthy of the solemn tribute of a grateful nation.”

A “grateful nation”? That sounds like a lofty ideal, but today we seem to have anything but a grateful nation.

Recently, I had the privilege to do a radio segment with Michael Reagan, the oldest son of our 40th president, and I asked about our nation’s level of gratitude today for our veterans. He said it’s very low.

Said the younger Reagan about today’s population, “America hasn’t been taught to be grateful. They've been taught to hate … we have young people going to what I refer to as ‘HateU,’ instead of PragerU. And they’re learning to hate America.”

Reagan went on to say that’s why we see all these protests in the streets and on campuses across the country, “because they've been taught to hate America, to hate what America stands for, to hate Israel. They haven't been taught to love. Ronald Reagan taught us and showed us how to love America.”

Michael Reagan went on to pay homage to those who served our country in foreign wars: “Those who fought in the Second World War [and other wars] taught us how they loved America, so much that they would sign up to free a people, to save a people. We’re not teaching that today in our classrooms, in our schools, and because of that, we’re in the turmoil that we’re in.”

I asked Michael Reagan about one of my favorite quotes from his dad: “If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

Michael responded, “Welcome to one ‘nation gone under.’” Ouch.

In order to honor veterans and those who serve in uniform, Michael Reagan and his family run the Reagan Legacy Foundation, which they founded in order to provide scholarship money for those serving our military on the aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan.

The American experiment of self-rule under God will not last forever if so many Americans don’t realize the price paid for the freedoms they so cavalierly take for granted. To this day, people from other nations risk their lives to come here so they might experience the liberties we seem to care little about.

The sacrifices of so many people, living and dead, that we might be free as a nation could easily be in vain if we continue down this path. A great quote attributed to President Lincoln notes, “Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.”

Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is the executive director of the Providence Forum, an outreach of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air host. He has written/co-written 33 books, including George Washington’s Sacred Fire (with Providence Forum founder Peter Lillback, Ph.D.) and What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (with D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.).    @newcombejerry

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