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Today, I took a group of fifth graders to an assembly in which President Obama’s address to schoolchildren on Tuesday was replayed, and in which 30 seconds of silence were observed for the victims of September 11, 2001.

The kids were, of course, toddlers eight years ago. Before the assembly, I gave the two-minute recap of the hijacking of the planes, the targets, the heroism on Flight 93, and the number of victims at each location. The kids needed to understand why they were being silent.

As for President Obama’s speech, the “stay-in-school” and America is the “land of opportunity” peptalk, there was a parental “opt-out” form that parents could sign if they did not want their children to hear the speech. There had been “much ado about nothing” prior to President Obama’s address on Tuesday. None of the kids in the class had brought back a signed form.

I strongly suspect that many of those who find fault with just about everything that our current President says or does are not merely politically opposed, but harbor a sort of unresolved, latent racism that they cannot or will not admit (especially in a state like California, which generally does not tolerate public racism). I often told my children, as they were growing up, that, “People who try to fool themselves are the biggest fools of all.”

(Note added September 12, 2009: One of my friends wrote that the automatic opposition of some people to everything proposed by President Obama might reflect “knee-jerk” conservatism, and the fact that President Obama is not a “knee-jerk conservative.” I agree with this explanation for some cases, and with the “latent racism” explanation in other cases. A video of Mr. Obama’s speech is online. If you are open-minded enough to watch it, :-) watch it, and see what explanations YOU might find for the opposition. The speech is totally inoffensive, non-political, and could have been given by a high-school coach. [Actually, it meant more to ME, coming from the President of the United States.])

The assembly was respectful, with a room filled with fifth graders on down, and the day was a wonderful end to a great week.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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1 Comment to “9-11-2009”

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Thanks for sharing your 9-11 moment, Bill. I’m happy to hear about the reaction of the chilren to the Obama address! I think it’s great that the President would address school children.

mlaney said this on September 11th, 2009 at 7:43 pm

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