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The Veterans Day case for teaching critical thinking
Posted by: McQ on Friday, November 09, 2007

First, remember, this is about celebrating Veterans Day in a school.

How it began:
It started with an eight-line e-mail from fourth-grade teacher Rolf Hanson to the school staff. Hanson thought conscientious objectors should be honored by placing their names on a banner, giving them more or less equal recognition with veterans who fought in wars.
What happened:
On Thursday, an outraged parent whose son is in Hanson's class — Kimberly from Sarasota — was on the radio explaining it all to conservative icon Limbaugh.

"You've gotta be kidding!" said Limbaugh, who repeated the school's name 11 times over the course of a few minutes.

Within hours, Bay Haven received hundreds of calls and e-mails, including one from a soldier serving in Afghanistan.
Ok. Got it. School considers elevating COs who refused to serve with veterans who are the sole reason for the holiday.

Seems pretty dumb to me. The level of outrage is not particularly unexpected when something like that is mentioned on Limbaugh's show. And, btw, the idea, which was put forward by the teacher, had been rejected by the administration anyway. It would have been nice if that had been researched, but, of course, it wasn't. So it ended up being a non-event although I'm sure the school wouldn't consider it that given the reaction.

However, this is what got me:
Bay Haven is a public magnet school that is so popular that some parents sign up their children before they are even born. It offers a special academic program focusing on teaching critical thinking and global awareness.
Critical thinking. Good, good. However, it's obvious that one of the parents didn't have the opportunity to attend this school when she was younger:
"I don't think they should make a big deal about it," said Felicia Cook, who heard about the controversy when she picked up her son and daughter from school Thursday. "My father was in Vietnam, and he was for peace. Someone who is talking about peace, why should we have a problem with that?"
We shouldn't. But that's not the point. The point is the holiday celebrates the service of military veterans, not anyone who has a random thought about peace or refused to serve.

Thank goodness her son and daughter go to Bay Haven and aren't home schooled.
 
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"Critical Thinking" has come to mean, being CRITICAL of the oppressive heter-normal paradigm, not thinking thru things critically.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
There were conscientious objectors who served, often as medics. I salute them. The rest of the I won’t go crowd have my scorn. We have an elected, civilian leadership and a means to peacefully change it.
 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
What’s unclear in all this is whether the COs being referred to are COs who did, in fact, serve, but who, because of their CO status, did not carry arms, or whether the term as used by the school comingles COs with draft-dodgers and others who flat-out refused to serve.

Many COs have served in non-combat roles with distinction, including at least one MoH recipient who, as I recall, on Okinawa repeatedly ventured into intense enemy fire to drag to safety an incredible number of his comrades — something like 75.

As someone who did not serve but who requires both hands to count the number of pilot friends who died while serving their country — none, incidentally, in combat — I don’t think it’s appropriate to elevate one group of veterans over another when celebrating Veterans Day. But if the teacher in question wants to lump draft dodgers in with legitimate COs, that’s an insult to all who served and antithetical to the spirit of the day.
 
Written By: DIffus
URL: http://
There were conscientious objectors who served, often as medics. I salute them. The rest of the I won’t go crowd have my scorn. We have an elected, civilian leadership and a means to peacefully change it.


Remember Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism, Mark ....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
What’s unclear in all this is whether the COs being referred to are COs who did, in fact, serve, but who, because of their CO status, did not carry arms, or whether the term as used by the school comingles COs with draft-dodgers and others who flat-out refused to serve.
A CO who served would be a veteran, so he’d already be honored with this day. It’s clear that the teacher wanted to honor those that didn’t serve.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
"The rest of the I won’t go crowd have my scorn."

Like the current Vice President?
 
Written By: Cats
URL: http://
"The rest of the I won’t go crowd have my scorn."
Like the current Vice President?
Or the Previous POTUS?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
A CO who served would be a veteran, so he’d already be honored with this day. It’s clear that the teacher wanted to honor those that didn’t serve.
They can take a field trip to Canada, didn’t they put up a statue to honor draft dodgers?
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
Heck, I never served.....can they honor me as well?
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
didn’t they put up a statue to honor draft dodgers?
No, just the money that Mommy and Daddy sent them, and was thus spend bolstering that contry’s economy.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Then you have people who actually served, and served bravely, who have been mericlessly trashed, whose patriotism was questioned. Think John Kerry. Think Senator Cleland.

For some people, "patriotism" means wearing a flag lapel and impugning the integrity of others.
 
Written By: Cats
URL: http://
Think John Kerry.
You mean the guy that 1013 days ago promised on national television to sign form SF-180 and release his military records to the public?

Yeah, still waiting on those, btw.

The Swiftboat Vets raised doubts about just how "honorable" that man’s service was.

As for questioning his Patriotism, what’s to question?

Winter Soldiers took care of that long ago.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Then you have people who actually served, and served bravely, who have been mericlessly trashed, whose patriotism was questioned. Think John Kerry. Think Senator Cleland.
Huh?!?! Let’s start simple...Max Cleland screwed the pooch. He thought he had the "Unimpeachable Moral Authority Card" and so could hold up the DHS bill to allow the Unionization of it’s employees. Gee, that’s what he got attacked for. Plus, you do realize that Max didn’t get "wounded", he got accidented...he picked up a live grenade on the Helo LZ and it exploded. It was a tragic accident, but it wasn’t a moment of combat valour a la Audie Murphy either.
And JF Kerry, who rumour has it served in Vietnam, well Lt Kerry served and served OK, no one claims he was bad...he just wants to claim he was a "hero" and the SBVFT truth disputed that...and THEN there’s his post-war "service". You know meeting with the NVA in Paris? You know testifying to Congress about all those war crimes, reminiscent of Jenjis Khan? And the Winter Soldier Hearings, all the times JF Kerry trashed his fellow service personnel as violent baby killers? yeah we noticed that and pointed it out, Cats...You might find your line works over in Kos-ville but the truth of the matter will get slapped in your face here.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
What’s unclear in all this is whether the COs being referred to are COs who did, in fact, serve, but who, because of their CO status, did not carry arms, or whether the term as used by the school comingles COs with draft-dodgers and others who flat-out refused to serve.
As Steverino points out, such a CO would be a veteran and as such would need no reason to be singled out.

I have no problem with real, honest-to-goodness COs. But they aren’t vets and they have no business being honored on a day specifically set aside for vets.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Her comment makes more sense when you read the email and the article to see that the context of the suggestion is a discussion of Veterans for Peace.
TEXT OF THE E-MAIL

Greetings Staff-

For our Veterans’ Day celebration my class will be making a banner that honors conscientious objectors and Veterans for Peace. Please pass on this information to Bay Haven families. If you have any students/ Bay Haven families who would like to contribute stars for this banner, please put the stars in my mailbox or send them to my classroom by Thursday.

Peace,

Rolf

p.s. The origin of this Nov 11th celebration day is the Armistice Treaty that ended the Great War of 1914-1918 in France on the 11th month, 11th Day, 11th hour and 11th minute in 1918. Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Contentious objectors have nothing to do with "Veterans for Peace" unless they are veterans themselves. If they were, there’d be no reason to list them separately, would there?

The context of the original post seems perfectly valid.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ: "As Steverino points out, such a CO would be a veteran and as such would need no reason to be singled out."

As I said, "... I don’t think it’s appropriate to elevate one group of veterans over another when celebrating Veterans Day."

McQ: "I have no problem with real, honest-to-goodness COs. But they aren’t vets and they have no business being honored on a day specifically set aside for vets."

I’m confused. A CO who served isn’t a vet? I though that, by definition, a veteran is someone who served. If you’re speaking of COs and draft dodgers who did not serve at all, I’d agree. But declining to say thanks on Veterans Day to a CO who served because he didn’t see combat is similar to saying that Reserve and NG members who didn’t see combat in Vietnam didn’t really serve. Having lost several college friends in military airplane accidents over the years, I don’t subscribe to that, and I don’t think you do, either.

 
Written By: DIffus
URL: http://
DIffus, you misunderstand McQ. He definitely agress that COs who served in the military are Veterans, and should be honored on November 11th. He has no problem with genuine COs who didn’t serve, but doesn’t feel they should be honored on a day reserved for Veterans. This is pretty much identical to my take on the matter, so I feel confident speaking for him here.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
You know meeting with the NVA in Paris? You know testifying to Congress about all those war crimes, reminiscent of Jenjis Khan? And the Winter Soldier Hearings, all the times JF Kerry trashed his fellow service personnel as violent baby killers?
This all negates his service, IMO... and apparently in the opinions of many Americans. You stood beside Jane Fonda and that stink never leaves...
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
I’m confused. A CO who served isn’t a vet?
No, a CO who hasn’t served isn’t a vet. There’s no reason or need to break out COs among vets.

Consequently what I was saying is I have no problem with real honest-to-goodness COs [who never served]. But they aren’t vets and they have no business being honored on a day specifically set aside for vets.

Better?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Isn’t it funny how "swift-boating" has become a talkinghead verb to mean "smear and lie"? Those guys had the goods on Kerry, but the Chris Matthews’ of the world couldn’t care less.
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
No Retief, it still doesn’t make any sense at all.
Veterans for peace (or even ones who think war is a GREAAAAAAAAAT THING!!!!!!, and I haven’t met one of those yet) are all being honored on Veterans day.

CO’s honored for what?

Alvin York, Medal of Honor winner, started out as a CO before he was persuaded that sometimes being a fighting soldier was justified, but regardless, he showed up when he was called and didn’t hide out in the hills.

What ’Rolf’ was about was psychobabble BS. Choosing to list the CO’s first tells me where her head was at all along.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Contentious objectors have nothing to do with "Veterans for Peace" unless they are veterans themselves. If they were, there’d be no reason to list them separately, would there?
McQ you are absolutely right about this. But I think there may be some confusion out there around the phrase concientious objector. I’m not sure what the VfP guy means when he says "The kids have to know there are people out there in war that are conscientious objectors." He seems to be suggesting that there are people in the military who object to a particular war. Certainly that’s true, but the language doesn’t match my understand of a CO as a person who refuses to either fight or serve in the military at all because of moral objection to doing so ever. In the US in the past sure, COs were both "in the wars," and in the civilian service alternatives, and in prison, but how many could there be in todays volunteer military? Of course, as the 11.11 date of this holiday is becasue of the Armistice ending WWI perhaps the treatment of COs during that period isn’t entirely irrelevant.

Lets look at the little that we know from the article.

The schools Veterans Day comemoration included a banner with (I infer from the email text) stars on which were written the names of veterans related to the students and submitted by the students.

This teacher discussed Veterans for Peace with his class and from that discussion arose his suggestion that an additional banner "that honors conscientious objectors and Veterans for Peace". Apparently the suggestion was quashed, so just what that meant wasn’t fleshed out. Perhaps people not related to the students, who knows.

The school was both inundated with witless dittoheads’ screeching and facing "some Bay Haven parents ... protesting the school’s decision to shield children from other viewpoints about war, especially after more than four years of conflict in Iraq." And seems to have reacted quite well to both.

This woman’s father was an anti-war veteran.

Now I don’t think seperate banners for seperate politically oriented groups of veterans is the right thing to do generally, and neither did the school in the end.

Perhaps this story would fit better under your "deride the culture of celebrity and victimhood" rubric. Why did Kimberly from Sarasota need to call Rush about this non-event? Oh yeah, to gather the mantle of victimhood about herself and further the myth of The Poor Persecuted Conservative. There’s your lede.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Bay Haven is a public magnet school that is so popular that some parents sign up their children before they are even born. It offers a special academic program focusing on teaching critical thinking and global awareness
an eight-line e-mail from fourth-grade teacher Rolf Hanson to the school staff. Hanson thought conscientious objectors should be honored by placing their names on a banner, giving them more or less equal recognition with veterans who fought in wars.
Something doesn’t seem to add up here....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
McQ you are absolutely right about this.
That was obvious from the beginning, retief. And all your subsequent twists, turns and logical leaps to the contrary didn’t change that a bit.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
What twists? What turns? What leaps?

The woman you deride for wanting to include anyone who has a random thought about peace or refused to serve on a holiday celebrating the service of military veterans did not in her comment mention COs or people who refused to serve and was obviously thinking of her anit-war veteran father. If there is a leap here it is in your attribution to her of the interest in including COs evinced by the teacher. And his use of the phrase is unclear anyway.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
In a free society people can make Veterans Day into anything they want to.
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
In a free society people can make Veterans Day into anything they want to.
Heh ... of course they can. And they can be called loons when they do.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
In a free society people can make Veterans Day into anything they want to.
Personally, I’m holding out for "Veterans Day" to be the day where everyone in the United States gives Joe, $.25. I’m not asking for much here, in fact let’s compromise, just send me $.10. See Veterans Day it can be about anything, but still don’t you think that just to hold down the cognitive dissonance that we ought to have Veterans Day celebrate, oh I don’t know...VETERANS?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ,

I’m not quite sure why I would go out of the way to comment on what people do on Veterans Day (a day largely unobserved by the majority of Americans as far as I can tell) or any other holiday for that matter. If one wants to practice "Festivus" over Christmas, go for it!
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
Joe,

So, are we engaging in a "War On Veterans Day?"
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
I’m not quite sure why I would go out of the way to comment on what people do on Veterans Day
I guess it has more to do with the absurdity of the premise (celebrating people who have never served in the military on a day on which you specifically celebrate those who have).
If one wants to practice "Festivus" over Christmas, go for it!
I’m not sure what that has to do with anything, but if that’s your choice you still won’t be celebrating Christmas, will you?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
So, are we engaging in a "War On Veterans Day?"
??????You’re coming thru garbled and stupid as my friend told his company commander...allegedly.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ,

I guess it has more to do with the absurdity of the premise (celebrating people who have never served in the military on a day on which you specifically celebrate those who have).

As far as I can tell the government created a holiday for a specific purpose, a holiday which most people apparently don’t give much thought to. Now apparently someone wants to expand on that purpose. I’m not particularly troubled, outraged, etc. by this.

My use of "Festivus" was an analogy to the current "situation."
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
Now apparently someone wants to expand on that purpose. I’m not particularly troubled, outraged, etc. by this.
Yeah, well see, I am. I guess that might have something to do with having served in the military for 28 years and having a father who did it for 36 years.

Or something like that.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ,

So, this apparently has to do with the group of folks you belong to.

Anyway, have a good weekend there.
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
Yeah, just because you don’t know what it means, or ’celebrate’ it, means most other Americans don’t either - yep yep yep.

At a minimum, a lot of places give it to their employees as a holiday.

It’s only people like McQ who actually know any veterans though...*cough cough cough*, or thank them for their service...*cough cough cough*. Yeah, it’s all part of a very small club of people (only at a national level of course).

To any of you Marines out there - early ’Happy birthday!’
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
We seem to be a society of perpetually offended groups.

looker,

At a minimum, a lot of places give it to their employees as a holiday.

Can you name me one major retailer, fast food joint, etc. who gives their employees the day off. The malls don’t close to my knowledge, and it is business as usual at I would suspect 90% or above of the businesses in this country. The only entities which I know of that close on the day are banks and government offices. Are the markets (financial, etc.) even closed?
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
In a free society people can make Veterans Day into anything they want to.
I’ve always thought it was a shame that it was changed from Armistice Day instead of adding VJ day and VE day to the holiday calendar.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
I’ve always thought it was a shame that it was changed
Yeah, who would want to honor all the veterans? Don’t forget — Retief supports the troops!
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
"Then you have people who actually served, and served bravely, who have been mericlessly trashed,"

Like the Swift Boat Veterans and the veterans Kerry trashed?






 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Yeah, who would want to honor all the veterans?"

Frankly, that is an unfortunate response. I understand it may have been reflexive, but reflexes can be counterproductive if you aren’t careful . It would have been perfectly reasonable and possible to choose another day. There are still quite a few openings. Why Armistice day and not VE or VJ day?

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Is there some reason you feel we have a need to specifically honor the end of WWI as a national holiday? I find it very appropriate to use the day to honor ALL veterans.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I’ve long said that people who fixate on what a holiday is meant to celebrate (on the right, those who don’t think veterans day should be very specific in purpose, on the left, those who get angry that there is a ’Columbus day’ and want it not to be recognized because of what Columbus stood for) to lighten up. Holidays are days off. Some celebrate it for what it’s intended, some change it completely. Christians see Easter as the day Jesus was resurrected, those of us who aren’t Christian see it as Easter Bunny and candy day. Veterans will see Veterans Day differently than pacifists, who may want to use it as a way to speak out against the cost of war.

To each his own. Don’t let your happiness depend on what other people do — you’ll always be disappointed.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott Erb,

As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. :)
 
Written By: Syloson of Samos
URL: http://ingenuus.blogspot.com/
"Is there some reason you feel we have a need to specifically honor the end of WWI as a national holiday?"

No.

"I find it very appropriate to use the day to honor ALL veterans."

Fine. And others may think it appropriate to honor WWI veterans on that day and all veterans on another. Reserving Armistice day for the purpose of honoring WWI veterans in no way prevents the honoring of all veterans. It is not unheard of to create a new holiday.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Fine. And others may think it appropriate to honor WWI veterans on that day and all veterans on another. Reserving Armistice day for the purpose of honoring WWI veterans in no way prevents the honoring of all veterans.
I’m sure all those WWI vets out there are a bit miffed.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"I’m sure all those WWI vets out there are a bit miffed."

Why?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Armistice Day commemorated an actual event, the end of WWI. I’m not opposed to a generic Hooray for Veterans Day, but having that on the same day dilutes the memory of the events of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. I think that is a shame, but perhaps others think we already have a surfeit of history-mindedness and historical knowledge in this country. Like timactual says, it is not unheard of to create a new holiday.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Armistice Day commemorated an actual event, the end of WWI...it is not unheard of to create a new holiday
Great. Now we need new holidays for the end of the War of 1812, the American Civil War, the Spanish-American War, VE day, VJ day, Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, and the end of every other war I’ve left out.

I’d hate to "dilute the memory of the events of...[take your pick]".
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://

 
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