It Almost Made Me Cry

Okay, I had something happen to me earlier this week that almost made me cry… but it defiantly made me extremely sad.

In my English class we were discussing the story “Rip Van Winkle” and the teacher separated us into groups to break down the story and the group I got was Setting. Why was Rip Van Winkle set where it was, when it was and why? Easy right… Ha!

We started with when Rip Van Winkle was set and we knew that he basically slept thru the beginning of the Revolutionary War. So, I figured it would be easy to answer that. He woke up at the beginning and he was asleep for 20 years. The first question asked “When was the revolutionary war?” I was a bit stunned but more when someone else answer – 1825 right? Um, no… I asked to kinda guide my classmates – when was the declaration of independence signed because that was basically a bugger off to England. I got the response of blank stares and I don’t know.

Now this makes me sad because last week in my history class we discussed the 4th of July and when the teacher asked what it was a celebration of the girl sitting next to me answered: fireworks. She was serious.

Now why does this make me sad? Would it make you sad?! It does for me… Especially since these kids are straight out of high school pretty much and do not know when our Declaration of Independence was signed. I’m sorry but my 5 year old nephew knows this – I am pretty sure, he is a smart kid. But this is one of the most important day in our nations history. It is not a celebration of fireworks – which are a reminder of the war we fought.

It was like last year when I went to a baseball game for the 4th and when the national anthem was sung most of the people around me showed no respect. Kept their hats on and did not put their hands over their hearts, but they did for God Bless America. And they all sang that. No one sang the National Anthem and peoples kids were screaming.

Is this a sign that we are loosing something here in America when the next generation doesn’t seem to know American History? Are they learning it in school? Or is it just what I am seeing.

And it wasn’t just that… we were discussing New York and no one really knew that New York existed back that and how important it was to our nations history. Why base Rip Van Winkle outside of New York city in the mountains along the Hudson River? Maybe its cause I grew up for the first part of my life in New Jersey. It made common sense to me that we would know why that was an important area to base a story about someone sleeping thru the birth of our nation. But nothing is as bad as a lack of knowing when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

But it seriously did make me almost cry.

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