Thompson on Memorial Day  

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Students polled in a wide range of colleges and universities showed no real improvement in their historical knowledge. Some actually forgot part of what they’d learned in high school by the time they graduated — and I’m talking about some of our best-known Ivy League schools.

Less than half of college seniors knew that, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal” is from the Declaration of Independence. Less than half knew basic facts about the First Amendment. Half didn’t know that the Federalist Papers were written in support of the Constitution’s ratification. Only a quarter of seniors knew the purpose of the Monroe Doctrine.

This is our quandary. Memorial Day is about remembering. It’s about remembering those who died for our country; but it’s also about remembering why they believed it was worth dying for. Too many Americans, though, have never been taught our own history and heritage. How can you remember something that you’ve never learned?
First of all, let me go on record as knowing that the above quote is from the Declaration of Independence and that it continues as follows (and this is from memory): "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness". This blog is my personal expression of the First Amendment, as is my religion. I know not only that the Federalist Papers were written in support of ratification of the Constitution, but that they were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. I also know that the Monroe Doctrine established the policy that the United States would fight any new European intrusion into the Western Hemisphere.

I also must say that I find it absolutely deplorable that any educational institution in this country would deprive any student of the knowledge of the philosophy under which this country was established and the names and backgrounds of those who implemented it.

I am further angered by those who would use a day set aside to honor the nameless soldiers who have given their lives protecting the very First Amendment that protects free speech rights to use that day to use those same free speech rights to demean those nameless soldiers.

If the typical terrorist suicide murderer's heritage and cause are worth dying for, then why shouldn't ours be? Is ours not superior? Is it not at a bare minimum worth learning about?