February 24, 2012
Earlier in the week one of my grandsons asked me to pick him up for school about 15 minutes earlier than normal. Mrs. Cheri Robinson’s 5th grade class at Claremont Elementary School in Claremore, Oklahoma was putting on a program for their Sunrise Assembly, an event held every Friday morning. He needed to be there early to get into his costume for the program. He didn’t say much else and I didn’t really ask any questions. I naturally thought of it again this morning and asked him what they were doing. “We’re having a ‘President’s Day’ play”. Okay, this should be interesting. Probably a cute little skit to start everyone’s day, I thought. I go to events involving all of my grandchildren when I can, and even go out of my way to attend. I am glad I went to this one.
A few days ago I read about a school somewhere, don’t remember or care where, that had a ruckus over children being taught to sing and chant praises to Barack Obama. Parents were outraged and put a stop to it. This is not the first time I have heard about this kind of thing happening in recent years. It seems to have become pandemic in our nation’s public school system, but has it?
For those of us born in the immediate post World War II era, this has a chilling effect. I remember my parents talking about, and remember growing up seeing newsreel films about, elementary school children in cute little swastika adorned uniforms giving the Nazi salute, and singing and chanting praises to Adolph Hitler. The school children singing and chanting praises to Hitler in the newsreels were the young adults who implemented the Holocaust. This is beginning in our own country.
Outrage is the proper attitude of parents at this kind of indoctrination. This kind of school activity is what gets reported in all of the national news, they love it. This promotion of the adoration of Obama, or any politician, is what the media is interested in for the most part.
The incident I just related to you isn’t the end of the story. I have another story to tell you- set in the “Bible Belt”, the “Breadbasket of America”, “flyover country”, the land of “bitter people clinging to their Bibles and guns”. This is the story of a much different message being taught to our children.
Let me take you back to tiny Claremore, Oklahoma on a windy and chilly Friday morning; and the 5th grade class of Mrs. Cheri Robinson, Claremont Elementary School. The Sunrise assemblies are held in the school gymnasium/cafeteria, probably the one area in any structure in this entire nation that has no acoustic values at all. In this gymnasium every child’s whisper sounds like a shout and every shuffle of an elementary student sounds like a load of books being dropped.
Trying to hear and understand lines from nervous students who are speaking very softly and meekly into the microphone in this environment isn’t a walk in the park for these old ears. As I walked in I saw my grandson, his teacher, and his classmates on the stage, all decked out in colonial looking costumes, some with construction paper hats depicting the style of the time.
The program started out with the Pledge of Allegiance, a salute to the flag of the State of Oklahoma, the school creed, the 8 steps of character building , and the teacher’s creed; all led by Mrs. Robinson’s students. I noticed the children around me during the Pledge of Allegiance. Each of them stood razor straight, hand over heart, looking at the flag, and saying the pledge like they meant it. These are K-5th kids, 5-11 year olds. This all finished up and a student stepped up to the microphone.
As the first student began to speak you could have heard a pin drop. About 300 or so kids 5-11 years old sat riveted like what was being said was important and mattered. The students stepped up to the microphone, each at their time, and spoke clearly, concisely, loudly, and sincerely about the flag of The United States of America and those men and women who gave us this great nation.
Their tribute to our flag, our nation, our founders, and our veterans brought tears to this old soldier’s eyes and a lump the size of a basketball to his throat. I was so proud at that moment to be a grandfather, to be a veteran, to be a guest at this assembly; and most of all, proud to be an American. I was particularly proud of my grandson, Jacob. He stood so tall, and spoke with such volume, clarity, and meaning. The expression on his face and the way he carried himself when he spoke showed a genuine sincerity in his heart. This was a boy of 11, one of about 25 children, all with a genuine joy in their hearts to be doing this, to be honoring those who gave so much for freedom.
I have tried to instill an appreciation and a love of this nation in all of my children and grandchildren. I have talked a lot with this particular grandson about our nation’s past, present, and future; sometimes much to the chagrin of his mother and grandmother. I am often told, “too much information for an 11 year old”. I have wondered how much of it really got through and how much was “okay, Grandpa, that’s great, can I go play now?” Today I found out.
I was also once again reminded that I am not alone in my quest to see my grandchildren grow up with a love and appreciation of our founders, our heritage, and for those who keep us safe and free. This is not an isolated case in the Claremore School System. This is very much the rule here. This needs to be the rule rather than the exception in every school. Mrs. Robinson is teaching our children the true values that made this nation great. I can’t say “THANK YOU” strongly enough.
I hope this program of patriotism at Claremont Elementary School gets as much, or more, national attention as the activities of a school promoting dictatorship, and the worship of a ruler. Claremont’s play from this morning is the kind of activity we need to be publicizing. These students weren’t paying tribute to a leader or a political party, or even a flag. They were paying tribute to an idea, a concept of freedom, to a value system, and to the great men and women who “pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their Sacred Honor” for future generations. This is what students are taught in the Claremore Public Schools.
I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.
February 24, 2012