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Forgetting Who We Are


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Weekly Standard:

What does it mean to be an American? It's the kind of high school essay question that brings to mind those lofty notions of freedom and liberty. But that would be so 1961—and today's students are not all focused on what they can do for their country. To wit, in a recent study conducted by Stanford education professor William Damon, in which students were asked what American citizenship means to them, some of the responses include:


"We just had that the other day in history. I forget what it was."

"I mean, being American is not really special.... I don't find being an American citizen very important."

"I don't know, I figure it really shouldn't mean anything."

"I don't want to belong to any country. It just feels like you are obligated to this country. I don't like the whole thing of citizen.... I don't like that whole thing. It's like, citizen, no citizen; it doesn't make sense to me. It's like to be a good citizen.... I don't know, I don't want to be a citizen ... it's stupid to me."snip
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To wit, in a recent study conducted by Stanford education professor William Damon, in which students were asked what American citizenship means to them, some of the responses include:

 

 

"We just had that the other day in history. I forget what it was."

 

"I mean, being American is not really special.... I don't find being an American citizen very important."

 

"I don't know, I figure it really shouldn't mean anything."

 

"I don't want to belong to any country. It just feels like you are obligated to this country. I don't like the whole thing of citizen.... I don't like that whole thing. It's like, citizen, no citizen; it doesn't make sense to me. It's like to be a good citizen.... I don't know, I don't want to be a citizen ... it's stupid to me."snip

 

 

To say this is disturbing understates the word disturbing.

OTOH it begs the question are/were these students being taught what it means to be an American? What people went through the price paid?

I say this because of two incidents...

The guy I work for young kid late 20's (?), very sharp engineer, we're talking and I say today is the 146th anniversary of Uncle Billy Sherman's ride though Georgia. We asked who that was, I told him William T. Sherman, he asked who was he, Civil War General says I, which side did he fight on?

 

And again

 

What are you reading now? The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, I answer, Matt asks was that before or after America entered the war?

 

The point is Matt is not some idiot who can barely master flipping hamburgers, as I said a really sharp guy, but somehow he got an engineering degree without being aware of these two small facts.

 

(I gave him VDH's The Soul Of Battle and am nagging him to read it. Nagging is one of my best things! :D )

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