Friday, September 10, 2004

ACLU Misses One

This dispatch comes from Dad (Michael Snell). . .

In Southern California the Labor Day weekend doesn’t mark the demise of summer but instead it marks the onset of the searing heat of September, which is often the hottest month of the year. And so, with temperatures already pushing into the nineties, at 9:30 this morning the students of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School gathered in front of the flagpole to memorialize those whose lives were forever altered by the events of what has become known as 09/11.

My eight-year-old, Jacob, has been ecstatic all week because his third grade class planned to sing his favorite song for the special September 11 observation at school. Make no mistake about it; this is not just his favorite patriotic styling but also his favorite song, hands down, even edging out that really cool Brian Setzer rockabilly stuff.

Jake and the House Blond (Katie) share a singular love of this tune and rest assured that you just ain’t lived until you’ve watched the car windows bulge outward to that point just before the safety glass explodes as they belt out Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA. The intensity and sincerity of the kid’s performance can sometimes bring tears to your eyes, although sometimes the tears are merely the result of a dramatically off key rendition that leaves you bleeding from the ears.

Where they ever heard this song and why it has the effect on them it does remains an unexplained mystery. What is apparent to me however, is that even at the tender ages of six and eight my kids understand the various implicit and explicit messages contained in the lyrics and its stylized promise of what it means to have been born American.

As remarkable as that is to me as a parent, I find it even more remarkable that despite the politically charged and politically correct social movement that at times seems to have a chokehold on public education, this performance took place in a public school in California and nobody heard from the ACLU. Yet.

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