August 21, 2004


Instilling Patriotism Then and Now (Ernest W. Lefever, July 12, 2004, VFW Magazine)

The other day I ran across an old book with an enduring message -- a nation without patriots cannot long endure. The 400-page volume, Manual of Patriotism, with an American flag on the cover was published 1n 1900 by the New York State department of schools.

At that time, New York, indeed all America, was receiving tens of thousands of European immigrants and the major institution for teaching them English and American history was the public school system.

Many of the immigrants were inspired by the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."

In 1900, our flag had only 45 stars; Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii had not yet entered the Union. Two years before, Admiral George Dewey had humbled the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay and Teddy Roosevelt had marched his Rough Riders up San Juan Hill in Cuba. America was flexing its muscles as a new great power and the great majority of its citizens were unashamedly patriotic. This was especially true of our public school teachers.

The Manual of Patriotism, addressed to those teachers, abounds with suggestions for fostering love of country. The public schools were expected to teach respect for America’s Founders, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the brave heroes who had died in their country’s wars. Solid patriotism, said the Superintendent of Schools, could best be fostered by teaching pupils to respect the flag and to learn about American history. The Manual reflected the unashamed patriotism of the famous McGuffey Readers that were widely used from 1880 to 1910.

Specifically, the Manual urged teachers to open the school day with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and the singing of a patriotic song. Pupils should be taught to revere the flag, commit to memory patriotic quotations, and study the lives of great American patriots

Young Americans should also observe patriotic events, including Lincoln’s birthday (February 12), Washington’s birthday (February 22), Flag Day (June 14), Independence Day (July 4), and memorial events for those who died in American wars. Teachers were encouraged to take their pupils to historic places such as Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, and Gettysburg. (Teachers in those days would be shocked to learn that less than a century later the national holidays given Washington and Lincoln by act of Congress would be merged into one Presidents’ Day.)

Understandably, the Manual, sensitive to "the separation of church and state," did not address religion directly. But among the patriotic songs it recommended, several mentioned God: "America" (better known as "My Country, ’Tis of Thee") refers to God as "the author of liberty"; "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" repeatedly exalts "Our God is marching on"; and "The Star-Spangled Banner" says "in God is our trust!"

A century ago patriotism, morality, and God seemed to coexist comfortably in our schools and in society generally.

This is where nativists should focus their energy, not on keeping immigrants out of America but on making all Americans better citizens.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 21, 2004 11:38 AM

Orrin: Thank you for posting this. Am sending link to all my friends and relatives.

Posted by: G.G. at August 21, 2004 11:49 AM


Swift boat skipper: Kerry critics wrong
Tribune editor breaks long silence on Kerry record; fought in disputed battle

By Tim Jones
Tribune national correspondent

August 21, 2004

The commander of a Navy swift boat who served alongside Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry during the Vietnam War stepped forward Saturday to dispute attacks challenging Kerry's integrity and war record.

William Rood, an editor on the Chicago Tribune's metropolitan desk, said he broke 35 years of silence about the Feb. 28, 1969, mission that resulted in Kerry's receiving a Silver Star because recent portrayals of Kerry's actions published in the best-selling book "Unfit for Command" are wrong and smear the reputations of veterans who served with Kerry.

Posted by: patriot1955 at August 21, 2004 12:17 PM

Mickey Kaus was talking this Chicago Tribune article up yesterday at his blog. The problem with the article is that while it does answer the charges relating to the Silver Star matter - and most people I know do concede that Kerry _did_ rightfully earn his Silver Star - it still doesn't deal with (1) the matter of his wounds; (2) the "Christmas in Cambodia" matter, which even his own campaign now admits was, to put it charitably, an inaccurate statement on Kerry's part; or (3) the new ad the Swift Boaters released yesterday, which is more damaging than the first ad could ever have been because it exposes Kerry in his own words, spoken by himself (though the spin is that he was just quoting the other "Winter Soldiers", though that's _not_ what he said on "Meet The Press" in April).

Posted by: Joe at August 21, 2004 2:54 PM

Kerry served, Bush was served cocktails in the pool. That's what Americans will remember on Nov. 2.

Posted by: pa at August 21, 2004 3:00 PM

pa: I rather doubt that. Too much has been said and done already, and when ad #2 really starts to circulate, it'll overbalance any response that could have been made to ad #1.

Posted by: Joe at August 21, 2004 3:10 PM


Yes, the Senator and the President are both to be honored for their service during Vietnam. The question is the Senator's record after.

Posted by: oj at August 21, 2004 3:12 PM

The question, really, is Bush's record after. This election will be about him, no matter how hard he attempts, a la 2000 and McCain, to throw mud on Kerry and distract attention from his abysmal performance as President, a performance so tawdry that many Republicans as well as Conservatives are pledging to vote for Kerry. Bush has none of the accomplishments of his father and all of the pride. Pride goeth before a fall. Amen!

Posted by: patriot1955 at August 21, 2004 3:32 PM

Then why was the entire Democratic Convention about Vietnam?

Posted by: oj at August 21, 2004 3:38 PM

Patriot - or should I say Kos? -

Why do you think you need to hide under a different moniker when you post here? What are you afraid of? You're one of the leading lefty bloggers, surely you're not afraid of a bunch of conservatives?

Posted by: Joe at August 21, 2004 4:24 PM

Is that what you call yourselves, conservatives? You sound more like radicals to me, out of touch with the mainstream, a little cock-eyed and intemperate and probably a little too fat for your own good. John McCain says it best. "Apologize."

Posted by: patriot1955 at August 21, 2004 6:06 PM


Haven't you heard? Conservatism is the new radicalism--liberalism the new reactionary. The switch occurred in '94.

Posted by: oj at August 21, 2004 6:14 PM

So Patriot, that's your answer to OJ's question? John McCain also says "vote for Bush," so will you do that, too?

Posted by: Brian (MN) at August 21, 2004 6:40 PM


Do you really think you can cross swords with Orrin? A lot of regulars here would tell you just how successful that would be. I know; I've done it myself on occasion and I can't remember ever winning an exchange.

Posted by: Joe at August 21, 2004 8:08 PM

Guys, and women, I am to kos as the SBVTs are to truth. There is no connection. As for the crossing of swords, well that's a fine how-do-you-do! It is beyond contesting that Bush slimed McCain in South Carolina in the 2000 primaries. To recall McCain's words to Bush, to wit, that Bush should be ashamed of himself for those attacks, is not identical with falling into lockstep with McCain's views. It seems impossible that the good men and women of this site would deny that Bush's current attack on Kerry is repulsive to most, just as his slander of McCain ("fathered a black child") was repulsive then. As the Swifties continue to be revealed for the flip-floppers that they are (some supported Kerry not so long ago), at best, and the mendacious henchmen of a desperate man at worst, the discussion will turn away from Vietnam and toward the issues and challenges that confront Americans this moment and in the future. This is the discussion worth having.

Posted by: patriot1955 at August 21, 2004 8:39 PM

OJ, does that answer your question?

I didn't think so.

Posted by: Brian (MN) at August 21, 2004 8:46 PM


It's not about the war, it's about his anti-war/anti-American activities. No one who consistently communist regimes, as the Senator did, should be president.

Because he couldn't talk about any of that he tried making the election about the war and his conflicting or untrue stories about it have come back to haunt him.

He has no ideas for what we could do to improve America today or he'd have mentioned them at his Convention. All he can do is react to the President's agenda and defend the status quo circa 1979.

Failing to air out his record in the primaries the Democrats stuck themselves with a simply awful candidate.

Posted by: oj at August 21, 2004 8:48 PM

For those who don't know, what happened in South Carolina was a push poll that asked voters if it would change their opinion of John McCain to know that he had a black child. Senator McCain and his wife have an adopted Bangledeshi daughter. This was, without a doubt, slimy.

There is also no evidence that the Bush Campaign had anything to do with it. McCain, on the other hand, went to Michigan and suggested that Bush was an anti-Catholic bigot for speaking at Bob Jones University.

Posted by: David Cohen at August 21, 2004 10:50 PM


It's also unlikely that it changed the race at all.

Posted by: oj at August 22, 2004 12:53 AM

And I note that Kos, having been caught out, has changed his email address. What was that I was saying earlier about trolls?

Posted by: Joe at August 22, 2004 6:32 AM

And by the way: changing first one's handle, then one's email address, within one week, when one's identity is noticed, is a sure sign, in my experience, that one is not interested in serious discussion but in disruption.

Posted by: Joe at August 22, 2004 6:59 AM

To go back to the original post, things were a bit more fraught and complex in 1900 than that happy little excerpt would indicate.

The U.S. was so far from being wrapped in a warm blanket of religion and patriotism that the nation's leading business executives spent weeks every summer drilling to be prepared for the coming battle with the unpatriotic.

Hard to imagine, say, Bill Gates doing that these days.

It was called the Plattsburg Movement and unfortunately it's been forgotten

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 22, 2004 3:43 PM

Yes, it would be helpful to inculcate patriotism in business leaders too.

Posted by: oj at August 22, 2004 5:24 PM

Racist patriotism.

As I said, it's been forgotten. Few of us know our own history

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 24, 2004 2:03 PM

Racist patriotism is preferable to the opposite and in the first blush of Darwinism everyone of any social standing was a racist.

Posted by: oj at August 24, 2004 2:09 PM