WILL COLD REALITY BREED PATRIOTISM?The guys down at the American Legion American Legion, national association of male and female war veterans, founded (1919) in Paris. Membership is open to veterans of World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. and VFW See Video for Windows. posts have been glued to their TV sets like the rest of us, hoping that this tidal wave tidal wave, term properly applied to the crest of a tide as it moves around the earth. The wavelike upstream rush of water caused by the incoming tide in some locations is known as a tidal bore. of patriotism the country is riding right now will spill over Verb 1. spill over - overflow with a certain feeling; "The children bubbled over with joy"; "My boss was bubbling over with anger"
bubble over, overflow
seethe, boil - be in an agitated emotional state; "The customer was seething with anger"
2. into the local high schools.
It's tough to find a pulse anymore on concepts like patriotism and democracy there these days. It's been getting a little fainter every year, says Perry Jones.
Last year, when Jones' Woodland Hills-Chatsworth VFW Post sent out fliers on its Voice of Democracy Scholarship Contest to the six high schools in its area, they got back two entries.
Two out of more than 10,000 students enrolled in the schools.
The two boys sewed sew
v. sewed, sewn or sewed, sew·ing, sews
1. To make, repair, or fasten by stitching, as with a needle and thread or a sewing machine: up first and second place, winning $150 and $100 respectively. Since no one claimed the third-place money, it went back into the till.
``Some kid just had to talk into a tape recorder tape recorder, device for recording information on strips of plastic tape (usually polyester) that are coated with fine particles of a magnetic substance, usually an oxide of iron, cobalt, or chromium. The coating is normally held on the tape with a special binder. about patriotism for a few minutes, and he or she would have won $75,'' said Jones, who runs the contest for the local post.
Things aren't looking a whole lot better this year, he said Friday. He sent out a fax to the schools a few weeks ago, putting in big, bold letters at the top that a student could win a $25,000 college scholarship if he or she went all the way and won at the national level.
``I haven't got one entry so far, but it's still early,'' Jones said Friday. It's not that early. The deadline for the contest is Nov. 1.
Over at the American Legion posts, where high school students can get thousands of dollars in scholarships by winning oratorical or·a·tor·i·cal
Of, relating to, or characteristic of an orator or oratory.
ora·tor contests on the U.S. Constitution at the district, state and national level, participation isn't much better.
``We've had scholarships to give, but very few kids seem to want to study the U.S. Constitution hard enough to enter the contest to try to win,'' said Bob Myers, who beat the bushes trying to recruit local high school students for the contest in his American Legion Van Nuys Post 193 area.
``They have to give a five- to eight-minute presentation on any part of the Constitution they choose, then answer some questions about it,'' he said.
But less than a handful of students ever reply to the fliers sent to hundreds of school classrooms, Myers said.
Who knows, these vets say - maybe this week from hell will help change that.
Maybe if anything good can possibly come out of so much evil, it's the cold, hard slap of reality our kids have gotten right across the face this week.
Patriotism and democracy aren't concepts in a school book anymore - they're flesh and blood. Sometimes, a lot of blood.
``So much has changed on campus this week,'' said Daniel Solomin, a senior at Van Nuys High, who attended the American Legion's Boys State program last year.
``Kids who were nonchalant non·cha·lant
Seeming to be coolly unconcerned or indifferent. See Synonyms at cool.
[French, from Old French, present participle of nonchaloir, to be unconcerned : non-, and never very vocal about American pride American Pride is a three-masted schooner built in 1941 by Muller Boatworks in Brooklyn, New York. She is one of the few tall ships left sailing in the world. Owned by the American Heritage Marine Institute (AHMI), her homeport is Long Beach, California. before are standing up and saying they're proud to be Americans now. It's been so much more visible.
``I can't realistically say it will last, but if the VFW and American Legion members came on campus right now, they'd get a lot more kids entering their scholarship contests,'' he said.
So, there it is, guys - that pulse of patriotism and democracy you've been waiting to feel again on high school campuses. The kids are ready - go get 'em.
Entries in the Voice of Democracy competition must be sponsored by a VFW post, so contact the post in your community if you're interested.