Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fourth Grade Perspective

The City of Jefferson, Missouri is where I spent today with Ms. Bellie on her Fourth Grade trip to our state Capital.

The excitement of getting on a tour bus with television monitors, all dressed up, and spending a bunch of "free" time with friends was palpable!

Giggling like one of these 4th graders was a blast, but I was certainly not ready for the depth this trip held in store for us!

Our first stop was the Capital Building.  I had been here before a longggggg time ago and it was fun to see what memories I had stored away that came back to me.

We were greeted by our own Representative and Senator, and the building itself was very welcoming.
It said "MOM" on all the staircases and landings!
As we walked on our own through part of the museum, the students had time to absorb everything around them before a formal tour began.  They experienced uniforms and artifacts, replicas and tools from every different War the United States has been involved in.  

I went through my mind of family history.  Civil War = check, WWI = check, WW2 = check, Vietnam = check, Korea = check, Ship Builders = check, Clerks = check, All Brances = check.  Surprisingly, I knew more about our family than I thought I did.  Paying attention, and listening carefully paid off for me today.  Telling my daughter who in our family fought in what Wars meant a lot to me.  Letting her hear all of this while visually sucking in details made me feel really old, however!  And I do have to admit, I will always be partial to Navy Men (I think it might be the uniform)!

The classes worked their way through the House Lounge which houses one of the most amazing murals sculpted and then painted by Thomas Hart Burton.

The History of Missouri is depicted in an extraordinary manner when seen in egg shell paint and family faces.

The students moved on into the Gallery of the House of Representatives.  To our surprise, we were able to hear some of the debate on HCS HB 276 233 & 274.

If I thought I felt old while going through our family history, I really felt old listening to this debate: What is the original definition of Free Speech?
Not only have we heard this argument before, but this time I was looking at Ms. Bellie, realizing she has NOT heard this argument before (unless you include "when it is appropriate to use the word toot").  

Reality pretty much slapped me across the face at this point!  Why? Because:
-my baby girl, who is no longer a baby, who I  held in my arms and sobbed as the Towers came down will never know a world without War. And that is normal.  The United States has been at War the whole of my boy's lives.
-no matter when I think about War, there is always an association with it.  
-arguments are still had about who can serve in a war.
-arguments are still had concerning who is able to protest a war and how.

And the biggest kicker was this:
The Senate wall states "Nothing is Politically Right that is Morally Wrong" and I started wondering why then, the above bill was being debated.

Maybe if some of the engraved sayings and rules were being followed we wouldn't have a debate over children reading these books sitting out on the Governor's Library Desk:
And then maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't have to worry about children acting like this without something bad happening...
And then one day, maybe, just maybe, when I am really, really old, children can look up at this and have their own impression about how beautiful the world could be without war...
Until then, I have resolved that the history of our families and our heritage start becoming more forefront in my children's minds.  Maybe, just maybe, they will be smarter than the rest of us about history repeating itself.

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