Powerline today, on the anniversary of D-Day, offers some provocative thoughts on whether or not we honor our WW2 veterans. The article is prompted by, and links to, this essay in the Opinion Journal.

The Opinion Journal editorial by David Gelernter, written in 2004, argues that if we were truly to honor our WW2 vets we would teach in our schools, at a minimum 1. The Major Battles of the War, 2. The bestiality of the Japanese, 3. The attitude of the intellectuals. 4. The Veterans' Neglected Voice (allowing vets to speak and enabling them publish and record). (cont.)

For the last few days I have pondered A Waco Farmer's comments on the need to create patriots. Knowing him well, I understand that he means not mindless ignorant fantics, but rather those who know not just the bad, but also the goodness and greatness of America. When teaching college classes in U.S. History I would tell my classes that I was passionately in love with the U.S., but with a mature adult love. This sort of love I would define as the love that sees clearly not just the faults of the beloved, but also sees and encourages the good. Eventually I settled into an approach to teaching U.S. history based on Eric Foner's wonderful book The Story of American Freedom which chronicles the complex story of the conflict over the meaning of "freedom" and the gradual and costly expansion of liberty.

But, in my classes I did not deal much in lecture with military history. Instead I put selected battles and campaigns and such on a list of things students were to know for the exam but were on their own to read in the books. I did this knowing full well that many of my students read little or nothing since the exams were heavy on the lectures. Perhaps I was wrong.