Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Two Little Words

 

Few things exercise the Ricochetti more than a spirited discussion of the woeful state of public education in the United States today, unless it’s despairing angst (is there any other kind?) over the direction of the country in general, the state of mind of its youth, or the general lack of gratitude for anyone or anything shown by anybody under the age of [pick a target demographic, probably based on your own state of middling-to-advanced geezerhood]. Sometimes, it seems that there’s nothing we like better than a good, and dreary, moan about the state of things.

So, just to be contrary, and with the recognition that, perhaps I’m a lone voice crying in the wilderness (wouldn’t be the first time, and probably not the last), or that, perhaps, my family has been lucky to have tapped into the one-and-only decent public school system in the country (unlikely that, I can’t help thinking), I’d like to shower today’s quote of the day on a little institution in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania: “Thank you,” Charles W. Longer Elementary School (the school appears to have been named after a local educator who served for many years as the superintendent of the district. Thank you, Charles W. Longer, himself.)

Our most recent occasion for showing appreciation occurred yesterday when Mr. She and I made the trek of about 130 miles Northeast from Chez She to Hollidaysburg (home of the Slinky), the county seat of Blair County, PA. The first thing I was grateful for when I got there, was that it wasn’t 38 degrees, blustery, and pouring with rain, inside the auditorium. Thank you. One of the worst drives of my life. Ever. But totally worth it, although by the time we got inside, the two of us were shivering and resembled nothing so much as two drowned rats. (The drive home was worse, though. Over three hours.)

The occasion for our (minuscule) sacrifice this time was the annual “Veterans Day” program, in which our granddaughter is an enthusiastic and regular participant.

This school is serious about connecting its kids with family and community in ways that I think the Ricochetti would appreciate. And the Veterans Day program is no exception. It’s not a flash-in-the-pan. It’s not a five-minute cursory salute. It’s not just for kids who have veterans in their families, it’s about the veterans, not the families. Or the kids. All the kids work for weeks on their parts in the program. They research. They study history. They write, and read, their reports for the attendees. They visit veterans and make cards and care packages for the elderly in homes. They collect veteran’s stories. (This year, one of the classes suffered the indignity of MRE rations for lunch, just to see what the soldiers have to eat. The cafeteria staff participated in that one.) They stick push-pins in a map of the world, showing where their family members and friends who are veterans came from, and where they served. And, every year, on the Friday closest to Veterans Day, they say, “thank you.”

The first thing we noticed upon entering the auditorium (other than that it wasn’t sleeting in there), were the multitudinous decorations. Hundreds of little posters, some put together into a big “quilt” on the stage, underneath the “American Eagle” carrying a flag in its mouth which had been crafted by one of the staff. Hundreds of cards, decorations, banners, and hangings. Most of the kids decked out in red, white, and blue.

This year’s program was exceptional and lasted about an hour. The Student Council presented the colors. The assembly sang the national anthem, and those attending said the pledge of allegiance. The tiniest kindergartners, cute little kids with stars-and-stripes heart-shaped headbands (girls), or little badges (boys) sang a couple of songs. And then the first through sixth graders began with their reports.

We learned about veterans–about what it means to be a veteran. About the origins of Veterans Day itself. A bit about history, and the wars that the United States has fought in. About the sacrifices veterans make, and why we should say “thank you,” to our veterans every chance we get. And we learned that we should be proud of those in our community who make that sacrifice for us, and that we should never stop saying “thank you,” when they come home and as they live their lives among us.

There was much applause, as the children read their reports, and even, I think, a few tears. Then, all veterans in the audience were asked to stand so that we could appreciate them, and children presented paper poppies to all those standing. Children who had veterans in their family who were attending the program presented each of them with a tiny American flag. Our granddaughter was proud. She had two veterans, both grandfathers, attending the program yesterday.

The school chorus sang a “thank you” song, the colors were retired, and the commemoration and celebration ended. It was lovely, heartfelt and genuine. It wasn’t over-the-top, and there wasn’t a false note struck, anywhere. I saw no sour, or frowning, faces. I’m sure it didn’t cost a lot of money to “produce.”

And what I took away from it is what I take away from it every year: America (and maybe, even, Western Civilization), lives. It’s right in front of me. It’s here for the taking.

All I have to do is grab it, hold onto it for dear life, not let go, and be grateful I was born where I was, when I was, and for where I am now. Is it perfect? No. But, consider the alternatives. All of them.

Thank you, Charles W. Longer Elementary School, for once again restoring my faith in the future, and for the thought that we just might make it after all.

And, once again, thank you, all veterans. Without you, that thought wouldn’t even be possible.

P.S: And Happy Birthday, and a special “thank you” to Mr. She’s branch of the service.

There are 27 comments.

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  1. KentForrester Moderator

    Well aren’t you little Miss Sunshine!

    Just kidding, She. Wonderful post that reminds us how lucky we are. We need that every now and then. Just every now and then, though. Just long enough to grab a breath of fresh air before we slide back into our more comfortable slough of despond. 

    That’s one cute granddaughter. Much cuter than my grands. 

    • #1
    • November 10, 2018, at 6:47 AM PST
    • 1 like
  2. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Well aren’t you little Miss Sunshine!

    Yep. Funny movie, by the way.

    Just kidding, She. Wonderful post that reminds us how lucky we are. We need that every now and then. Just every now and then, though. Just long enough to grab a breath of fresh air before we slide back into our more comfortable slough of despond.

    Indeed. I spend some time there myself. But, pace Paul Bunyan (I am right about that, aren’t I?), I can’t help thinking it’s better not to spend our lives chopping all the trees down on our way to the Celestial City, if only because, once we get there, we’ll have ruined the nice view.

    That’s one cute granddaughter. Much cuter than my grands.

    Thank you, but I don’t believe that for a minute. Stop holding out on us.

    • #2
    • November 10, 2018, at 6:53 AM PST
    • Like
  3. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Awesomely outstanding! Props to Miss Peachy and all!

    • #3
    • November 10, 2018, at 6:53 AM PST
    • 1 like
  4. KentForrester Moderator

    She (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Well aren’t you little Miss Sunshine!

    Yep. Funny movie, by the way.

    Just kidding, She. Wonderful post that reminds us how lucky we are. We need that every now and then. Just every now and then, though. Just long enough to grab a breath of fresh air before we slide back into our more comfortable slough of despond.

    Indeed. I spend some time there myself. But, pace Paul Bunyan (I am right about that, aren’t I?), I can’t help thinking it’s better not to spend our lives chopping all the trees down on our way to the Celestial City, if only because, once we get there, we’ll have ruined the nice view.

    That’s one cute granddaughter. Much cuter than my grands.

    Thank you, but I don’t believe that for a minute. Stop holding out on us.

    She, only you would have recognized that allusion to Pilgrim’s Progress — in particular Bunyan’s use of that odd form of the word “despondency.”

    • #4
    • November 10, 2018, at 7:00 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Well aren’t you little Miss Sunshine!

    Yep. Funny movie, by the way.

    Just kidding, She. Wonderful post that reminds us how lucky we are. We need that every now and then. Just every now and then, though. Just long enough to grab a breath of fresh air before we slide back into our more comfortable slough of despond.

    Indeed. I spend some time there myself. But, pace Paul Bunyan (I am right about that, aren’t I?), I can’t help thinking it’s better not to spend our lives chopping all the trees down on our way to the Celestial City, if only because, once we get there, we’ll have ruined the nice view.

    That’s one cute granddaughter. Much cuter than my grands.

    Thank you, but I don’t believe that for a minute. Stop holding out on us.

    She, only you would have recognized that allusion to Pilgrim’s Progress — in particular Bunyan’s use of that odd form of the word “despondency.”

    You’re batting below average today, KF (sports metaphor: She shoots! She scores!) I bet tons of people “got it.”

    • #5
    • November 10, 2018, at 7:12 AM PST
    • 1 like
  6. PHCheese Member

    It’s not so bad in deplorable country after all.MAGA.

    • #6
    • November 10, 2018, at 7:37 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Well aren’t you little Miss Sunshine!

    Just kidding, She. Wonderful post that reminds us how lucky we are. We need that every now and then. Just every now and then, though. Just long enough to grab a breath of fresh air before we slide back into our more comfortable slough of despond.

    That’s one cute granddaughter. Much cuter than my grands.

    I take it that Marie reviews your posts, but not your comments.

    • #7
    • November 10, 2018, at 7:45 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    Nice post. I’m not surprised that Mr. She is a Marine. I’m happy to see that this happened in your little corner of flyover country, but I don’t see it happening in the big blue chunks of the country.

    And, you’re welcome.

    • #8
    • November 10, 2018, at 7:54 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Well aren’t you little Miss Sunshine!

    Just kidding, She. Wonderful post that reminds us how lucky we are. We need that every now and then. Just every now and then, though. Just long enough to grab a breath of fresh air before we slide back into our more comfortable slough of despond.

    That’s one cute granddaughter. Much cuter than my grands.

    I take it that Marie reviews your posts, but not your comments.

    Funny! And the comment of the month.

    • #9
    • November 10, 2018, at 7:59 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    It’s not so bad in deplorable country after all.MAGA.

    Thought of you when we drove past the sign to “Bolivar.”

    • #10
    • November 10, 2018, at 8:05 AM PST
    • 1 like
  11. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    Nice post. I’m not surprised that Mr. She is a Marine. I’m happy to see that this happened in your little corner of flyover country, but I don’t see it happening in the big blue chunks of the country.

    And, you’re welcome.

    Yes, the blue chunks are a problem, even when they’re not all that large. Here’s the Red/Blue map for PA, Presidential election 2016.

    Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, the Penn State and Harrisburg areas, totally not a surprise that Hillary won. The other blue areas in the Eastern part of the state are trending Democratic, and are made up more and more of emigrants from NY and NJ.

    Troublesome thing to me is how bad a candidate Hillary was, and that she just couldn’t turn out the votes in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to the extent that previous candidates had. If she’d increased her margins slightly in all the “blue” areas, she’d have won the state, but even many Dems couldn’t work up all that much enthusiasm for her. That’s an aspect of the election that I think Republicans ignore at their peril, if they think the next one is ‘in the bag.’ If the Democrats run an attractive, reasonably normal, rational-seeming person who is under 80 years old, I think there could be big trouble for the Republicans. Although the problem is going to be, as the old joke about not being able to put on a Christmas play in Italy because nowhere could anyone find three wise men and a virgin, uncovering such a stellar candidate like that, anywhere in the modern Democrat party.

     

    • #11
    • November 10, 2018, at 8:18 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  12. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    She (View Comment):

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    Nice post. I’m not surprised that Mr. She is a Marine. I’m happy to see that this happened in your little corner of flyover country, but I don’t see it happening in the big blue chunks of the country.

    And, you’re welcome.

    Yes, the blue chunks are a problem, even when they’re not all that large. Here’s the Red/Blue map for PA, Presidential election 2016.

    Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, the Penn State and Harrisburg areas, totally not a surprise that Hillary won. The other blue areas in the Eastern part of the state are trending Democratic, and are made up more and more of emigrants from NY and NJ.

    Troublesome thing to me is how bad a candidate Hillary was, and that she just couldn’t turn out the votes in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to the extent that previous candidates had. If she’d increased her margins slightly in all the “blue” areas, she’d have won the state, but even many Dems couldn’t work up all that much enthusiasm for her. That’s an aspect of the election that I think Republicans ignore at their peril, if they think the next one is ‘in the bag.’ If the Democrats run an attractive, reasonably normal, rational-seeming person who is under 80 years old, I think there could be big trouble for the Republicans. Although the problem is going to be, as the old joke about not being able to put on a Christmas play in Italy because nowhere could anyone find three wise men and a virgin, uncovering such a stellar candidate like that, anywhere in the modern Democrat party.

     

    Ben Shapiro made that point on the most recent flagship podcast.

    • #12
    • November 10, 2018, at 9:01 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Stad Thatcher

     

    My favorite. Short and sweet . . .

    • #13
    • November 10, 2018, at 9:34 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  14. Cow Girl Thatcher

    That is a terrific story to read! The school where I teach has a lovely Veteran’s Tribute, too. But I think I like the one at your granddaughter’s school even more. I always teach a lesson about Veteran’s Day, and the students are very attentive and interested. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • #14
    • November 10, 2018, at 9:41 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  15. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    That is a terrific story to read! The school where I teach has a lovely Veteran’s Tribute, too. But I think I like the one at your granddaughter’s school even more. I always teach a lesson about Veteran’s Day, and the students are very attentive and interested. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Good for you, and thank you! I wish that more schools used current events to drive their curriculums (curricula?), in a positive sense, as in learning about the history, culture, and about the world. I remember Auntie Pat (95 and still going strong, may she live forever) telling me that when the Olympics were held in Japan (early 70’s I think), she stopped whatever all the other lesson plans were about to be about, and the kids immersed themselves in everything Japanese, learning a bit of the language, some of the history, how to add and subtract the money, the geography, and anything else she could think of, together with having a Japanese man and woman come in to talk to the kids. This was in the UK, and would have been five or six year-olds. I think that sort of thing is wonderful, and only enriches the children’s’ education.

    Unfortunately, when schools cover current events in the classroom these days, it’s usually to tell the children how stupid and horrible their parents are, and how they’ve ruined the world for the future. That really ticks me off.

    • #15
    • November 10, 2018, at 9:59 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  16. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    I’m not surprised that Mr. She is a Marine.

    Thank you (I think). The saying around here is that if there aren’t pictures, then it didn’t happen, so here he is:

    (This was, ahem, “some years” ago.)

    • #16
    • November 10, 2018, at 10:07 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  17. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    She (View Comment):

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    I’m not surprised that Mr. She is a Marine.

    Thank you (I think). The saying around here is that if there aren’t pictures, then it didn’t happen, so here he is:

    (This was, ahem, “some years” ago.)

    WOW…Be still my beating heart…OOHRAHLAHLAH :-)

    • #17
    • November 10, 2018, at 10:37 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. RightAngles Member

    Gives one hope! By contrast, my daughter’s school taught her in 3rd grade that Thomas Jefferson died poor and got a slave pregnant. Nice.

    • #18
    • November 10, 2018, at 11:19 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  19. TreeRat Member

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    Nice post. I’m not surprised that Mr. She is a Marine. I’m happy to see that this happened in your little corner of flyover country, but I don’t see it happening in the big blue chunks of the country.

    And, you’re welcome.

    Yes, the blue chunks are a problem, even when they’re not all that large. Here’s the Red/Blue map for PA, Presidential election 2016.

    Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, the Penn State and Harrisburg areas, totally not a surprise that Hillary won. The other blue areas in the Eastern part of the state are trending Democratic, and are made up more and more of emigrants from NY and NJ.

    Troublesome thing to me is how bad a candidate Hillary was, and that she just couldn’t turn out the votes in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to the extent that previous candidates had. If she’d increased her margins slightly in all the “blue” areas, she’d have won the state, but even many Dems couldn’t work up all that much enthusiasm for her. That’s an aspect of the election that I think Republicans ignore at their peril, if they think the next one is ‘in the bag.’ If the Democrats run an attractive, reasonably normal, rational-seeming person who is under 80 years old, I think there could be big trouble for the Republicans. Although the problem is going to be, as the old joke about not being able to put on a Christmas play in Italy because nowhere could anyone find three wise men and a virgin, uncovering such a stellar candidate like that, anywhere in the modern Democrat party.

     

    Ben Shapiro made that point on the most recent flagship podcast.

    What? You are discounting such superstars as Beto and “occasional cortex”?

    • #19
    • November 10, 2018, at 3:46 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  20. JoelB Member

    Is it not John Bunyan not Paul? Paul was the lumberjack with the blue ox.

    • #20
    • November 10, 2018, at 3:59 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Is it not John Bunyan not Paul? Paul was the lumberjack with the blue ox.

    Right on both counts. Well done. Hence the remark about chopping down the trees. I was messing with @kentforrester a bit.

    • #21
    • November 10, 2018, at 4:03 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. RightAngles Member

    Richard Finlay (View Comment): What? You are discounting such superstars as Beto and “occasional cortex”?

    OMG I have to steal that.

    • #22
    • November 10, 2018, at 4:13 PM PST
    • 1 like
  23. TreeRat Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Richard Finlay (View Comment): What? You are discounting such superstars as Beto and “occasional cortex”?

    OMG I have to steal that.

    I stole it from Sarah Hoyt, so you are more than welcome to do the same.

    • #23
    • November 10, 2018, at 4:17 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  24. I Walton Member

    Thanks. I think there are probably lots of good schools out there. These kind’s of attitudes come from having been exposed intelligently to real history. I know three of my grandchildren are in a fabulous school. What I find interesting is that they and their friends enjoy it, enjoy reading and learning and working hard. I saw a couple of the application essays the oldest wrote this year they blew my mind. I couldn’t have written them even after post graduate school which isn’t surprising, but neither could my more skilled literate friends. This school is small, independent, tuition and religious group funded, without outside funding or interference. My guess is that we could turn our schools around if we just got rid of the educational bureaucracy, get the feds out and let parents and teachers run the schools the way New Zealand revolutionized theirs. Let government funds follow the kids to the schools their parents want. 

    • #24
    • November 11, 2018, at 6:08 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  25. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I Walton (View Comment):

    My guess is that we could turn our schools around if we just got rid of the educational bureaucracy, get the feds out and let parents and teachers run the schools the way New Zealand revolutionized theirs. Let government funds follow the kids to the schools their parents want.

    Your guess is as good as mine, and I suspect that we are correct. Turn control of the schools, and the funding, back to the local boards and the parents/family (the fact that many social programs of the last half-century appear to have been constructed so as to devalue and even destroy that “family” makes it more complex than it might appear, but one has to start somewhere, and it seems to me this is as good a place as any).

    • #25
    • November 11, 2018, at 6:51 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Cow Girl Thatcher

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Gives one hope! By contrast, my daughter’s school taught her in 3rd grade that Thomas Jefferson died poor and got a slave pregnant. Nice.

    Good Grief! 3rd grade?? I’m so annoyed when teachers focus on one little mean thing. These guys were, indeed, human. However, they were also Super-Human in that they (the Founders) were willing to put it all on the line to separate from Great Britain and make a new nation, based on individual rights. My students learn that when we had the American Revolution, that no other country in the world had a government that wasn’t based on the idea that “Well, my father was the king, so I will be king now. And you’re NOT.” It’s almost impossible for 5th graders to understand, because they’re so used to the concept of having personal rights.

    • #26
    • November 14, 2018, at 4:40 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  27. RightAngles Member

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Gives one hope! By contrast, my daughter’s school taught her in 3rd grade that Thomas Jefferson died poor and got a slave pregnant. Nice.

    Good Grief! 3rd grade?? I’m so annoyed when teachers focus on one little mean thing. These guys were, indeed, human. However, they were also Super-Human in that they (the Founders) were willing to put it all on the line to separate from Great Britain and make a new nation, based on individual rights. My students learn that when we had the American Revolution, that no other country in the world had a government that wasn’t based on the idea that “Well, my father was the king, so I will be king now. And you’re NOT.” It’s almost impossible for 5th graders to understand, because they’re so used to the concept of having personal rights.

    The thing that made me even madder than this new zeal for knocking our heroes off their pedestals was that his sex life is hardly age-appropriate information for 8-year-olds.

    • #27
    • November 15, 2018, at 9:52 PM PST
    • 3 likes

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