Thursday, November 08, 2007

Heard It With Our Own Ears (and We Still Don't Believe It)

In case you missed it, El Rushbo had a rather disturbing call just before 2 pm (EST) today, from a woman in Sarasota, Florida. She explained that her son is a fourth-grader at Bay Haven Elementary School in the city, and was pleased to learn that the school will celebrate Veteran's Day tomorrow.

Then, her son asked: "Mommy, what's a conscientious objector?"

Turns out that her son's teacher plans to commemorate the holiday by recognizing those who refused to serve. The woman complained to the school's principal, who said she could not dictate how teachers observed Veteran's Day; however, she did agree to the mother's request that her son be moved to another classroom on Friday, for a more appropriate observation of the holiday.

And it gets worse--from an educational perspective. Bay Haven isn't your run-of-the-mill K-5 institution; it's the only magnet school among the 23 elementary schools in the Sarasota County system. It's been recognized as "National School of Merit;" an "A School; " a "5-Star School" and a Golden School Award Winner. In other words, it's supposedly a model of educational excellence.

Or should we saw indoctrination?


ADDENDUM: For the record, we have nothing against legitimate conscientious objectors (notably the Amish and Quakers) who have long refused military service on religious grounds. But, contrary to what that teacher in Sarasota may believe, refusing to serve is not the same thing as wearing the uniform. The fourth-grade teacher's "commemoration" is an abomination to all veterans, and its deplorable that the school system is allowing her to proceed.


Anonymous said...

Thank the American Soldier on Veterans Day, Says Magic Picture Frame Author Michael Class.

Author's Award-Winning History Book Offers Moral Lessons for Kids.

If Kids Must Honor Conscientious Objectors, Have Them Honor Sergeant Alvin C. York and Let Them See the Movie Made About Him.

Seattle, May 28, 2007 - The vicious attack by Islamic terrorists on 9/11 changed the lives of many Americans, but what happened after 9/11 changed the life of Michael Class: He wrote an American history book full of moral lessons for kids. Now, on Veterans Day, the businessman-turned-author reminds his young readers to thank the American soldier and honor the fallen in the War on Terror.

"We routinely mourn the victims of Islamic terrorism," explains Class. "But, we forget to thank the people who risk their lives every day to defeat the enemy and keep us safe. The people fighting on the front line deserve our thanks, our respect, and our admiration. This Veterans Day, thank the American soldier. Take time to honor the Americans who fought and died for our safety and freedom."

On why he wrote his unique history book for kids, Class explains: "After 9/11, I was shocked to see so many adults confused about the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, heroes and villains. It was a time when America's children were looking for guidance - and too many adults were behaving badly, and offering a distorted view of American history. I wondered: What would the heroes of the past say to the children of today?"

To answer that question, Class wrote, photographed, and published Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame. In the book, Anthony, the author's real-life son, travels through time to meet the heroes of America's past. Advanced digital photography places Anthony in real historical photographs with Charles Lindbergh, Neil Armstrong, Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, FDR, Lou Gehrig, Audie Murphy, and soldiers on Normandy beach on D-Day. Anthony's conversations with the people of the past are based on things they really said, all properly footnoted.

The Web site,, displays some of the book's amazing photographs.

In each chapter of the book, Anthony compares the people and events of the past with the people and events of his own time. It makes for a challenging read: Anthony discusses the nature of good and evil, right and wrong, war and peace, what it means to be an American, honor and discipline, success and achievement, courage and destiny, marriage and family, God and purpose.

Says Class: "Now, we hear that confused adults are teaching young Americans to honor conscientious objectors on Veterans Day. Well, if children must be subjected to this distortion of the holiday, then let them study the life of Sergeant Alvin C. York."

Sergeant York was a conscientious objector who wound up fighting in Europe during World War I. York was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on a German machine gun nest, killing 25 German soldiers and capturing 132 others during fierce fighting in France. Sergeant York's story became an Academy Award winning movie in 1941, starring actor Gary Cooper. The film is on the recommended list of movies that Class recommends all kids see.

The perspective on war that only veterans can teach, is a fundamental part of the chapter on World War II in the new book by Michael Class. At the close of World War II, Anthony meets another American hero. Anthony has a conversation with a young American soldier, who is on his way home from the war in Europe. That soldier is Audie Murphy. Audie Murphy was the most decorated American soldier of World War II, having received twenty-one medals, including the Nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.

Audie Murphy tells Anthony: "When I was a child, I was told that men were branded by war. Has the brand been put on me? Have years of blood and ruin stripped me of all decency? Of all belief? ... Not of all belief. I believe in the force of a hand grenade, the power of artillery, the accuracy of a Garand. I believe in hitting before you get hit, and that dead men do not look noble. ... But I also believe in ... all the men who stood up against the enemy, taking their beatings without whimper and their triumphs without boasting. The men who went and would go again to hell and back to preserve what our country thinks right and decent."

"I thought that Lieutenant Murphy's words were remarkable," says Anthony, "because, in his time, it was never obvious that the forces of good would triumph over the forces of evil. In my time, things are different. The forces of good clearly have the power to prevail over the forces of evil - it's only the will to do what is necessary to win that is in doubt. People demand endless negotiation with the Hitlers of my time, limited responses to brutal attacks, and quick exits from the fields of battle. They whimper that the smallest sacrifices are too much to bear, too expensive, and too inconvenient. They seem to be angry that their daily routine has been disrupted, not that the foes of freedom are on the march. In my time, the men and women who risk the supreme sacrifice to fight for what is right seem fewer and farther between. Their character seems more rare, less appreciated, and even mocked."

Anthony learns that the American soldier fights for what is right: The American soldier fights for those who can't fight for themselves. "But this is a truth that many Americans have forgotten," says Class. "It's time to remember the truth, and to share it with our children."

But, Class is doing more than just challenging his young readers to think critically about their modern time - he is offering his young readers hope and guidance. From his discussions with America's heroes, Anthony learns that "the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, one person really can make a difference, and doing the right thing always matters."

Every chapter of the book carries that inspiring message. The chapter about Lindbergh's flight is really about choosing one's destiny. The story of Lou Gehrig is one of a virtuous life. The chapter about Thomas Edison is really about the benefits of hard work. The story of Apollo 11 is about wonder, taking risks, and courage. The story of Dr. Jonas Salk and the cure for polio is really about dedicating one's life to a higher purpose. When Anthony meets his immigrant great-grandfather at Ellis Island in 1907, it's really a story about what it means to be an American. Anthony’s observation of D-Day and the liberation of the death camps during the Holocaust is a testament to the reality of evil and the need to fight it. 

Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame was named Outstanding Book of the Year by Independent Publisher (2006); awarded the Parent-to-Parent Adding Wisdom Award for Excellent Books (2007); is a celebrated winner of an iParenting Media Award for Excellent Products (2007), was named Reviewers Choice by Midwest Book Review (2006); and garnered Editor's Pick by Homefires: The Journal of Homeschooling Online (2006). Nationally syndicated talk-show host Michael Medved calls the book "entertaining and educational." Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin says "parents and teachers will appreciate the inspiring message this unique history book holds for America's next generation. I recommend this book to all young Americans, may they take us to the stars and beyond."

Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame (hardcover, 225 pages, $25.00) is available at, by calling toll-free 1-800-247-6553, at select bookstores, and on

Amazon link:

Watch the Magic Picture Frame video:

Take Anthony's History Test:

Read Book Reviews:


Note to editors and book reviewers: Michael Class and Anthony are available for interviews. Photographs and review copies of the book are available.

Contact: Michael Class,, Magic Picture Frame Studio, P.O. Box 2603, Issaquah, WA 98027-0119.

W. Barclay said...

You do understand, don't you, that Rush Limbaugh avoided service during the Vietnam War? He got a letter from his doctor saying that he had a cyst on his butt.

davod said...

W. Barclay:

And this is important because?

I take it you have read the medical report?

JoeC said...

Hmmmm. Do I hear "chicken hawk" mr. barclay?

If I recall he would not have been in any minority at that time of those looking to avoid the draft. After all, he could have gone off to Canada and have been pardoned by that great statesman Jimmy Carter. Almost everyone I knew at that time looked for a way to avoid being drafted for a most unpopular war, and seized any legitimate excuse possible to avoid being more cannon fodder for LBJ's war (or McNamara's). And from what I read, his 'pilonidal cyst' was a legitimate condition for being classified 4F.

The draft lottery was probably the most used excuse for 'avoiding the draft'. Well, my number was above the cutoff so I just won't volunteer to be shot at. So I guess all those high lottery number guys are dodgers also even when they had a legitimate excuse.

So, I really do hear "chickenhawk" in your snide aside there.........

(And yes, I volunteered anyway. 6 years USN. 1972-1978)

Anonymous said...

How does a "conscientious objector" act out his objections today? Nobody is required to serve, so there is nothing to resist. There is nothing to do except maybe go shopping.

Am I missing something?

PS: Spook, are you able to fix up the awkward posting procedures? Not all Blogger sites have this clumsy posting ritual, and it would be really nice if you could fix it.

Cerulean Bill said...

Prior to this, I've never agreed with people who say that such-and-so is 'an insult to every American military person', or words to that effect.

Now, I do.

Wimp, apparently thy job title is Principal.

Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

I knew a man, in his 70's at that time, who had been a Marine wounded on Guadacanal. He mentioned that there had been Conscientious Objectors in field hospital there, and that there was one guy in particular who he remembered fondly. "He wiped my butt when I couldn't," he said.

I also knew a Benedictine monk who had been a Conscientious Objector in WWII before entering the monsatery. He helped build the Burma Road and had his back broken at that time in a accident involving some logs they were moving.

There is a great deal more to being a Conscientious Objector than chanting "Hell no, we won't go." The term has become a synonym for cowardice masquerading as moral superiority, which is unfortunate because it reduces a highly moral and principled stand to a shallow sanctimonious pretentiousness.

Otter said...

Davod~ I think barclay just pissed because he Was the cyst.

Brent said...

I don't have a problem with teaching about GENUINE Conscientious Objectors. For example, my uncle was a member of Operation Whitecoat , or my father who was a medic in Vietnam and returned home with part of his leg missing, or the classic is Desmond Doss

Teach that truthfully, then I'm ok with it.

halojones-fan said...

For God's sake, start using COMMAS to separate the tags. SEMICOLONS DO NOT WORK.

Wild Bill said...

Many Quakers have distinguished themselves on the battlefield tending to the wounded. These are noble individuals who are acting on their beliefs.

But this teacher is no objector. She's just on the other side.

Unknown said...

"Or should we saw indoctrination?"

Yes George, you should ALWAYS say INDOC-TRA-NATION. Goebbles did a great job at that with the 3rd Reicht. And the NEA has been doing it since I graduated high 'scrool' in 1967. If I had children they would NEVER set foot in a facist propaganda system such as it has been over these 40 years.


Think of that 40 years!!!!! Is it any wonder we don't have the scum crap anti-american Bush hating baby killing asshat Libs wondering the streets looking to be taken care of by a socialist system?????

Sow a corupt seed; reap a corupt seed. It is a principle that is irrefutable.

May as well give that 'scrool' the Nobel Peace Prize.

Augurwell said...

Re Conscientious Objection

Well, Gandhi was a conscientious objector and I think that in the situation he was in this was the way to go because the people he was dealing with were reasonable. If Gandhi was dealing with the nazia, or the soviet, or a criminal organization etc. I don't think that that method would have worked.

This teacher, what are their thoughts about conscientious objectors on the police force?

Not really knowing what this person is thinking, I wonder what they would do if confronted with a nut-job killing the students in the class. "I object!" they state... conscientiously... I would not place kids in their care.


On another note, I have noticed some have had difficulty with the
sign-in to this site, as I once did - if you sign in with the e-mail address as your user name and use the password that you created with Google you should have no trouble. There was a change of some kind when Google took over (acquired) the Blogger site.