Our heritage, our ideals, our God…..everything that has made America great is being dismantled bit by bit. What was a minor Gilbert controversy last Spring 2011 barely goes noticed in 2012. Last year Cecilia Peterson, the principal of Mesquite High School, advised the choir and band to not perform the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." The reason: Some parents "raised concerns.” Gilbert Graduation Song Swith Upsets Some Parents.
She had stated that she is “fairly patriotic.” She’s the widow of an Air Force pilot who died in 1982. She’s also the daughter of a preacher, and grew up listening to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Does this personal history give her a special right to join the ranks of those who, either by design or weakness, throw the symbols of our American heritage and culture under the bus?
Ms. Peterson has apparently made the same demand this year.
I say “apparently,” because I read about it on Facebook. I called Ms. Peterson’s office to ask her about it. No return phone call. I emailed her. No return email. A few weeks ago, I even appealed to the best director of Community Relations in the public school system in Arizona: Ms. Dianne Bowers. Even Ms. Bowers, graciously effective to a fault, couldn’t break through the arrogance of Ms. Peterson’s refusal to contact me. Please see Dianne Bowers: In a Class by Herself.
Yes, it’s a very old song written a very long time ago when our country was in a protracted and bloody civil war that nearly tore our nation apart. Yes, it speaks of God. It started as a hymn. The Truth is that our country was God-inspired. It has remained a moral culture….until recently, as more “tolerance” of us is demanded by the intolerant. “When tolerance becomes a one-way street, it leads to cultural suicide, and we are on that street.” Lt. Col. Allen West, U.S. Representative, Florida.
The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was written in 1861 by Julia Ward Howe. It is the best known Civil War song of the Union Army. Even today, it is one of the most beloved American patriotic Anthems. It is vital to our American Heritage. Orson Welles relates the History of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. He talks about John Brown who fought against slavery and who was ultimately hanged. “John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave, but his soul goes marching on.”
The soldiers in the Union Army sang the Battle Hymn on the battlefield. It is a reminder of who we are and what we have been through as a country. Yes, we now live in the 21st Century. But our history is vital to our ability to endure as a nation. It didn’t begin the day we were born.
Ken Fetter was recently named the new Principal of Mesquite High School. Will he stand up for our American heritage or cave in to “some parents concerns”?