Saturday, September 11, 2010

Americana For Me

Today at my school we held Patriot's Day. Every year I've been at my school, on the school day closest to 9/11, we hold an assembly where we invite any and all parents who serve in the military to come and be honored with their children. Now, I'm going to be completely honest. I'm not and have never been a huge Go America, Rah Rah Rah person. The knee-jerk patriotism of the last administration felt very contrived and forced for me. That being said, I can't complain or come down on something that is for troops. Especially troop who are my kids parents. I really like the idea of this day.
The assembly is held around our flagpole. We sing patriotic songs, have speakers, and wave little paper flags the kids cut out and colored. And are surrounded by men and women in uniform. Afterwards we go back to class and they get to hang out for a nice brunch.
But I don't want to write about all that. I just want to give a snapshot of a moment that touched me. Please indulge.

Picture this: 900 students, pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, gathered in a semi-orderly oval around a flagpole. Scattered throughout are uniformed parents who have choosen to stand with their child rather than have their child come to them outside the circle. In the front two kinders sword fight with their flags until the scary man teacher growls at them to knock it off. The color guard raises the flag and every uniform snaps to salute. Over the speakers, "Proud to be an American" starts. The students have been practicing the song and start to sing along. One of my students, a little girl, stands proudly next to her father. He is in camo fatigues, kneeling next to her. She put her arm around him, resting her hand on his shoulder. While she looks up at the flag and sings, he looks up at her with a small smile on his face.

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