Watch out, folks ... I'm on a mission.
Last night was "Back to School Night" at Betty and Boo's school. I went solo, at the request of a letter sent home reminding parents that this was an event geared to adults and to make every possible effort to please find a babysitter. We don't know any babysitters here yet, hence The Dean stayed home and managed homework and I went to school. These events are also physically difficult for The Dean, as sitting in seats that come up to one's knees is not usually the most pleasant experience for folks like The Dean who have herniated disks.
So off I went to Betty's classroom and sat down in her very seat. Her teacher, who is very nice and delightful, explained the various areas throughout the classroom and the students' daily routine.
"And then we say "The Pledge of Allegiance," she said, pointing to an 8x10 computer printout of an American flag Scotch-taped to the wall.
"If any of the parents have any connections to the American Legion or folks who could donate a flag for our classroom, we would really appreciate having one."
It took a second for this to register with me. They say The Pledge of Allegiance each morning to a flag printed out from the Internet????? This isn't some one-room schoolhouse in the middle of nowhere; this is the fastest-growing school district in our state, with 8,000 students and counting.
But wait - this gets better.
Not only does Betty's class pledge allegiance to the printout, but Boo's class does also. And so does every classroom in the entire school.
I realize school budgets are tight, and I appreciate the powers-that-be keeping my taxes low and not spending my hard-earned cash on frivolous matters such as, oh, instilling a sense of patriotic pride in tomorrow's voters. (Or today's, if Boo had his way.) But something needs to be done about this.
I emailed both teachers this morning and told them I would be willing and all too happy to look into getting two flags donated, if they wished for me to do so. I mean, this cannot be all that difficult. There has got to be a foundation that provides flags to schools, or the VFW, or someone who cares that elementary-school students are pledging allegiance to something more meaningful than a printout of a flag.
So now I'm on a mission to get at least two flags in my kids' classrooms, and preferably enough for the whole school. I don't care what size they are. They just have to be real.
I even thought that perhaps I would find out how much they'd cost and pay for them personally in honor of my grandfather's four years of service in World War II. (It could be his Christmas present. At 90 years old, there isn't much the man needs.)
It's not lost on me that today is September 11. Seven years ago, 3,000 people died and untold numbers more still bear the physical and psychic scars from their encounter with evil. In the 2,557 days since 9/11, countless people have fought and died for our freedom - just as generations before us have done.
There's not a day that goes by without someone giving their life in the name of this country. And their sacrifice might as well be in vain if we don't give the youngest members of our nation and tomorrow's leaders a sense of civic pride every single day.