A expatriate friend posted on Facebook yesterday about the glories of Armistice Day* in Paris, where she now lives. Schools, government and most businesses were closed, at precisely 11am church bells throughout the city rang out, and jumbo-trons around the Arc de Triomphe broadcast the national celebration. Sounds absolutely beautiful, doesn't it? Honorable, respectful, and altogether the right thing to do.
Meanwhile, back home in the land of the freest and the home of the bravest (that's Texas to the rest of y'all) my boys came home from public school and were surprised when I told them it was Veterans' Day. No announcement had been made in either of their schools, no lessons given in class about the hundreds of thousands of people whose work past and present makes our children's lives possible. There was nothing. Nada. Zilch.
So tell me, what exactly does the Houston Independent School District think about our veterans? It seems to me they're somewhere in between uncaring and downright ashamed. Unlike the French. And when Texas loses to France in the patriotism stakes, it's a very sorry day indeed.
*Yes, I know that, to the French, Armistice Day is more like our Memorial Day, in that it honors primarily war dead and not just those who served. But when was the last time your child's teacher told him why he was getting a three day weekend at the end of May? Yup, I didn't think so.