Fourth Grade Patriot

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As a child in grammar school I read a lot of books. Once I discovered the local library my world opened immensely. I lost myself in reading books about early American life, the frontier life. I especially enjoyed reading about colonial America. The Revolutionary war held my interest and I reveled at the exploits of our Patriot Citizens who formed an army to fight the mighty British.

As an adult, I often bad mouth the French for their attitude toward the US, but when I read accounts about the founding of America, I realize just how critical French help was to making victory possible.

This winter I have read a few books more than I have in the past, and on my last trip to the library I spotted a book that piqued my interest. The author’s name did it, Newt Gingrich. Gingrich has been somewhat controversial in recent years He served in Congress and was Speaker of the House during the Clinton Administration. He is largely responsible for Clinton’s successful second term as President. Clinton is often praised for leaving a budget surplus for the next president. The truth of the matter is that Gingrich as Speaker orchestrated legislation that Clinton very wisely signed into law.

Newt Gingrich is a historian. Before entering politics he taught history. His love of history is clear in “Victory at Yorktown.”  Reading this story brought back memories of my fourth grade début into the world of history. Gingrich with co-author William R. Forstchen have crafted a fictional story of George Washington’s leadership to end the war and to solidify the USA. Within the story depicting the factual accounts of Washington’s strategy and the hardship his army endured for six long years there unfolds a personal account as well. Two friends growing up side by side in the colonies find themselves working as spies. One worked for the Loyalists (England) the other for the Patriots. They share a love for a single woman who has her own allegiances. Who will she wind up with, or will she survive the rigors of war? Throughout the story of the war, the authors cleverly weave the love story into the plot just often enough to keep it a fascinating read.

It infuriates me when I read news accounts about modern educators dumbing down America by  rewriting history books to push their ideological spin on our kids. As a child, I developed a love for my country by learning about the hardships endured by those who fought to make it happen. It filled me with pride to know I was born into that effort. The authors of the new history books want to re-direct our children into learning to love ideologies which are contrary to those of the Founders.

As parents and grandparents, we must stay ever vigilant to the material being fed to our  kids at school and to take action to remove offensive material, and to banish politically motivated teachers from the system.

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