There was a time in our country when the names of both Washington and Lee were revered and every school boy growing up in America knew of their virtues and heroic sacrifices. No longer. A couple of years ago, I received two letters soliciting funds for the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. I saved both of them. I knew they would come in handy one day. That day has arrived. (My wife will be pleased that at least one of the piles on my desk has proven useful!)
The first letter lamented that “Coverage of Washington’s heroic deeds in American history textbooks had declined dramatically—to less than 10% of what it was in the late 1960’s.” That is an alarming statistic. The writer went on to say that she was “sad and concerned by the fact that an entire generation of American children is being raised without a shred of respect or reverence for our greatest American hero!” The letter was signed by Mrs. Robert E. Lee, IV, Vice Regent, Mount Vernon Ladies Association.
Within a few months I received a second letter again requesting support for
The point is that apathy, political correctness, revisionism, and contempt for our heroes in the teaching of American history is slowly erasing the memory of great Americans from our collective memory. And it is not just "Lost Cause" heroes, as some would suggest. Any Christian hero in American history is the preferred target of scorn. Many historians and commentators will scoff at this concern, suggesting those of us who are alarmed about political correctness toss the accusation at anyone and everyone who has some new thought or interpretation of American history. But the truth is that more and more people are recognizing this growing problem. The only ones denying the danger of political correctness are the guilty perpetrators.
Look carefully at the image on the Saturday Evening Post cover of
“We continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more 'drive,' or dynamism, or self-reliance, or 'creativity.' In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the gelding be fruitful.”
As Harry Crocker, Executive Editor at Regnery Publishing recently opined, "If we want an America of heroes, we need to cherish our heroes of the past." America needs heroes, not geldings. My fellow author, Virginian, and friend , R. Cort Kirkwood, recently authored Real Men - Ten Courageous Americans To Know and Admire. (I recommend the book, by the way.) Cort currently works as Editor for the highly respected Daily News Record of Harrisonburg, Virginia. In the foreword to Cort's book, Roger McGrath writes:
"Most young Americans today know nothing of Francis Marion, Eddie Rickenbacker, or Audie Murphy and next to nothing about Andrew Jackson, David Crockett, or Robert E. Lee, unless it be their flaws and foibles. Yet these men were among my heroes when growing up. I read about them, heard about them, saw movies about them. This was all part of an American boy's life . . . we didn't hate ourselves then. We were inspired by a Crockett or a Murphy, and we aspired to be like them."
Kirkwood continues this line of thought in his preface:
"Men . . . embodied the traditional Christian conception of manhood defined in chivalry. They were honorable and honest, generous to varying degrees to foes, and solicitous and protective of women, children, and animals. They did not brook insults, and they understood that some things are worth dying for. They had guts."
The castrated cannot be fruitful and the gutless cannot inspire. Is it any wonder America is wanting in leadership?