Friday, November 11, 2011


By smf for LAKidsNews

At 11 AM on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the guns fell silent in Europe and trenches emptied and The War to End All Wars ended. The date is commemorated variously as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day and Veterans Day.

Take the day off.

WWI didn't end all wars. And the remembrance is blurred. George Santayana, warned: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." 

And we have not listened. We have not remembered. We have not, as the song says and the superintendent agrees below, taught our children well.  Now they teach us – their earnest faces at the end of the news in silence, their names added as the Defense Department makes them available. Sad tableaus on the tarmac in Dover, Delaware; empty places at Thanksgiving dinner – and at every dinner forever after.

Since Alexander wars have been fought in Afghanistan, its geography is ill-suited for a battlefield – it's geo-political location and the plate tectonics dooms it to be forever so.

An art teacher friend reminded me of a Kipling poem – Kipling who commemorated and celebrated Empire – but told the truth in imperial pentameter.

"The Young British Soldier" ends ingloriously:

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
clip_image001An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.


From Deasy’s Download - LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy's weekly e-newsletter week of Nov 7-11|

11/10/20 - The arrival of Veterans Day reminds us of the thousands of LAUSD students and employees who have served our country with distinction for more than a century. They fought, and in some cases died, in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and the Iraq wars.

The holiday also reminds us that a school district should be the ideal place to honor the meaning and significance of Veterans Day.

After all, a strong, well-rounded education is the best defense against the “historical amnesia” that afflicts too many Americans. Like you, I am always shocked to learn how little so many of our young people across the land know about American history. Unfortunately, students who graduate with scant knowledge of the country’s past may never learn or understand the present. As a nation, we dishonor the men and women of our armed forces—past and present—when we shirk our responsibility as citizens to know our own history.

I am determined that at the LAUSD we do not fail to meet this responsibility. It’s the least we can do to honor veterans everywhere.

After all?

When we only test English Language Arts and Math — and then evaluate our programs and the efficacy of teachers on test scores — where do we put - and how do we value - History — which is the totality of human experience?

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