To the Editor:

When I read the article today about the American Legion Post refusing to participate in the annual Veterans Day Program I was heartbroken. As a retired fourth grade teacher at the North Intermediate School and one of the original planners of the program, I cannot believe that our local veterans would use our fourth grade students to make a political statement.

The program was begun to honor our men and women who have served their country so well. We wanted to let them know how proud we are of them and to thank them for their selfless service. The children create artwork, write essays, and learn patriotic songs. It gives them a chance to understand what patriotism is. Over the years we have singled out different groups to honor to let them know that they are not forgotten. Some of the highlights of the evening have always been the posting of the colors, the children singing the songs for each branch of the service and Taps. There is hardly a dry eye when our service men and women are asked to stand and be recognized when their song is played.

It is a fact that we have never included an official prayer in the ceremony, but God certainly has been mentioned in the Pledge of Allegiance and many of the patriotic songs. Now, because of a protest about prayer at graduation, we are going to hold the fourth graders hostage if the district does not include a prayer this year in the program. It seems like they were set up. That truly is a shame. Is that really the message that we want to send to our children? God Bless our Veterans and God Bless America!


Mrs. Ellen Keefer