December 26, 2004: Headlines: Speaking Out: Patriotism: The Star Press: RPCV David C. LeBlanc says Freedom means individuals can express patriotism as they see fit

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Speaking Out: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Speaking Out (1 of 5) : Peace Corps: Speaking Out: December 26, 2004: Headlines: Speaking Out: Patriotism: The Star Press: RPCV David C. LeBlanc says Freedom means individuals can express patriotism as they see fit

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RPCV David C. LeBlanc says Freedom means individuals can express patriotism as they see fit

RPCV David C. LeBlanc says Freedom means individuals can express patriotism as they see fit

RPCV David C. LeBlanc says Freedom means individuals can express patriotism as they see fit

Guest column: Freedom means individuals can express patriotism as they see fit


As a member of the Ball State University faculty who attended the Fall commencement, I would like to respond to the person who felt I was insufficiently patriotic to face the flag during the singing of the national anthem.

First, I congratulate you and your daughter on the occasion of her graduation. It is no easy thing to raise a child and see them through a college education.

However, I am tired of recent unwarranted criticism from various persons that college professors are unpatriotic, with some even accusing us of giving aid and comfort to our terrorist enemies.

My father and two of my brothers, of whom I am extremely proud, served in the United States military for their entire adult lives. I served my country by showing the compassionate aspect of our nature, working as a school teacher for two years in the Peace Corps, in a distant land, far from family and friends.

I can no longer sit quietly by while self-appointed mullahs of patriotism question my character and that of my colleagues.

First, during the national anthem we faced the commencement stage, where the singer stood, and where a national flag is always located at commencement. All faculty members in my vicinity removed their caps during the national anthem, in the traditional sign of respect for our country.

Now we are criticized in a public forum for being insufficiently patriotic.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have given life and limb that we may be a nation of free people. Yet in this time when our freedoms are under attack from outside, self-appointed "keepers of the true faith" within are constantly vigilant and vocal about any perceived deviation from the one and only way to be a patriot.

I'm sorry, but that sounds more like Stalin's Soviet Union and the mullah's Iran than the United States of America. There are many ways that individuals can show their love and loyalty to our nation.

Because of the sacrifice of many, past and present, we each have the freedom to choose how we support our country in this time of troubles. Some do this by supporting the decisions of our current leadership. Equally patriotic individuals express their love of country through dissent about decisions and policies of our government.

That is the true spirit and legacy of the founding fathers. That is what many have fought and died to protect. That is what our troops in Iraq are giving their lives and limbs to secure for future generations.

The terrorists want us to give up our individual freedoms in the name of patriotism and security. If the self-appointed patriotism mullahs in our society ever convince us to do this, the terrorists will have won.

If you want to frustrate Osama bin Laden, live free and let your neighbors (including those of us who live in the much maligned ivory tower) do likewise.

David LeBlanc is a professor in the department of biology at Ball State University.

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

The World's Broken Promise to our Children Date: December 24 2004 No: 345 The World's Broken Promise to our Children
Former Director Carol Bellamy, now head of Unicef, says that the appalling conditions endured today by half the world's children speak to a broken promise. Too many governments are doing worse than neglecting children -- they are making deliberate, informed choices that hurt children. Read her op-ed and Unicef's report on the State of the World's Children 2005.

December 25, 2004: This Week's Top Stories Date: December 26 2004 No: 346 December 25, 2004: This Week's Top Stories
Soldiers of Peace 23 Dec
Nepal RPCV discovers new species of catfish 23 Dec
Tom Murphy will not seek 4th term as Pittsburgh mayor 22 Dec
Richard Celeste is spicing things up 22 Dec
Gov. Jim Doyle streamlines state government 22 Dec
Namibia Volunteers sworn in 21 Dec
RPCV serves as Ukraine election observer 21 Dec
Christmas Gifts for Peace Corps Volunteers 21 Dec
Estonia RPCV John Isles wins NEA poetry award 21 Dec
Director Vasquez decries racism and discrimination 20 Dec
RPCV criticizes "harrassment by Russian government" 20 Dec
War's horrors turn RPCV's son into pacifist 19 Dec
more top stories...

Changing of the Guard Date: December 15 2004 No: 330 Changing of the Guard
With Lloyd Pierson's departure, Marie Wheat has been named acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps. Although Wheat is not an RPCV and has limited overseas experience, in her two years at the agency she has come to be respected as someone with good political skills who listens and delegates authority and we wish her the best in her new position.
Our debt to Bill Moyers Our debt to Bill Moyers
Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."
RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack
RPCV Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia survived Monday's attack on the consulate without injury. Five consular employees and four others were killed. Abercrombie-Winstanley, the first woman to hold the position, has been an outspoken advocate of rights for Arab women and has met with Saudi reformers despite efforts by Saudi leaders to block the discussions.
Is Gaddi Leaving? Is Gaddi Leaving?
Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.
The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.
Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes
Take our new poll. NPCA members begin voting this week on bylaw changes to streamline NPCA's Board of Directors. NPCA Chair Ken Hill, the President's Forum and other RPCVs endorse the changes. Mail in your ballot or vote online (after Dec 1), then see on how RPCVs are voting.
Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying
Congressman Norm Dicks has asked the U.S. attorney in Seattle to consider pursuing charges against Dennis Priven, the man accused of killing Peace Corps Volunteer Deborah Gardner on the South Pacific island of Tonga 28 years ago. Background on this story here and here.
Your vote makes a difference Your vote makes a difference
Make a difference on November 2 - Vote. Then take our RPCV exit poll. See how RPCV's are voting and take a look at the RPCV voter demographic. Finally leave a message on why you voted for John Kerry or for George Bush. Previous poll results here.

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Story Source: The Star Press

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Speaking Out; Patriotism



By Anonymous ( - on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 6:04 pm: Edit Post

it's all good

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