The old man's hand was trembling, as he shook another hand. It seemed that everyone wanted to thank him for his service, before they meandered away and ignored the shape his country was in. It was another Fourth of July, and the old man was grieving over what he saw in the news, and on the streets of his country.
"Thank you for your service," another young man said, "and Happy Fourth of July," he continued as he reached for the old man's hand.
"Celebrate it while you can," the old man said in a weak voice. "It may not be long before it is politically incorrect, or even illegal, to truly celebrate our nation's independence.
The young man pulled back in shock and asked, "Isn't that a little extreme, Sir?"
"Sonny, I don't think it is extreme, but it might be too late for anyone to do anything about it," the old man replied.
"What do you mean?" the young man asked, feeling uncomfortable with the conversation.
He hadn't expected to get into a political conversation. He had things to do, and places to go. He thought it would be a good deed to spend an hour with some old veterans, before he rushed off to attend to the rest of his life.
"Twenty-five or thirty years ago, it was a legal and accepted practice to say the Pledge of Allegiance in our public schools," the old man explained in his unsteady voice. "Public schools are responsible for the majority of our youth getting educated, and prepared to lead our country in the future. That is where our youth were instilled with love and respect for our country."
"Okay," the young man said, wishing someone would rescue him.
"Today, the Pledge of Allegiance is illegal in most school districts, usually by district rules to avoid lawsuits, and considered improper by a significant percentage of our teachers," the old man continued. "Twenty-Five or Thirty years ago, our history was still taught in schools. Students were taught about why the heroes of our revolution turned their backs on wealth and community position. They were taught about people like Monroe, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams. Today, when a person says John Adams, the response is, "Can I get a cold bottle?" Today's high school student knows about how evil Christopher Columbus was, but not why Benedict Arnold was considered a villain of the revolution."
"That may be true, but why does it matter?" the young man asked, irritated because he was a product of the educational system the old man was denigrating.
"History is important," the old man replied, his voice a little stronger because of his passion for the subject, and his country. "The first thing Hitler did, after his release from prison in 1924, was energize the National Socialist German Workers Party. He began recruiting teachers into the party and the indoctrination of the youth began. By 1933, nine years later, those youth were a force to be reckoned with. How long has our education system been infiltrated with administrators and teachers that don't love America? I am not saying all teachers or education administrators are anti American, but they don't all need to be. Only a significant, vocal percentage are what I would call anti-American. The silence of the remainder isn't enough to counterbalance the vocal few and turn the tide toward patriotism."
"Just because it happened Germany, doesn't mean that it will happen here," the young man protested. "Germans were Nazis and were against the whole world."
.... There is more of this story ...