How do we thank our heroes, the ones who worked hard all their lives and built this country, who sacrificed for a better future, who battled against enemies foreign and domestic, the ones who died bravely around the world?
There are hundreds of thousands of people, now buried in military cemeteries, who gave the last full measure of devotion, as Lincoln put it. How do we genuinely thank them?
Throughout history, the younger generation studied heroes, noble deeds, extraordinary achievements. The young learn what is possible, and that life can be full of accomplishments and even greatness.
There is one thing we certainly wouldn’t do. We would not deliberately let their memories fade.
We wouldn’t let their history, and history in general, disappear from education. We would make sure that heroic stories are told year after year. We wouldn’t let the heroes who have battled against totalitarian aggression, in any of its forms, be slighted in our schools.
Most crucially, we wouldn’t let the very idea of the hero vanish. We would never stop talking, for example, about the great patriots who said, “I know not what course others may take but as for me give me liberty or give me death” (Patrick Henry) or “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” (Nathan Hale). What extraordinary sentiments. We would make sure that children in schools always hear them.
QED: urge schools to teach History and Heroes.
Public schools have a long-running tendency to downplay knowledge and memorization. For more on that, see “The Crusade Against Knowledge.”