Save the Tiger: Save Our Schools

We recently attended an aviation forum whose guest speaker was George Guzzi. After obtaining a Bachelor Of Science In Chemistry-Biology From Tufts University and an Associate In Arts Degree from the Art Institute Of Boston, he became a Member Of The United States Air Force Art Program in 1967 and since then has contributed over 80 paintings To The Permanent Collection (Bio)

His work speaks for itself.

After walking listeners through the process he uses in creating his paintings, he digressed into the state of history education in U.S. public schools. Having been closely associated with the USAF and NASA for decades as a working artist, he spends a good deal of his own time trying to educate school teachers and professors on military history only to find that most have no knowledge of military history, or worse, are openly hostile to it.

He related one particularly disturbing incident from several years back. As a life-long resident of Newton, MA, he called the head of the history department at the Newton Public Schools. He wanted to bring to the teacher a deck of "playing cards" he has created over the years. The 80 or so cards are each a small reproduction of his paintings (see above). As he was explaining to the teacher his interest in ensuring that today's kids learn of the heros of America's past, he asked the teacher if the Newton School System taught about World War II. After a moment of silence, the teacher replied that yes, they did, but they "excluded any military aspects about the war."

This stopped George for a moment. After he recovered, he asked the head of the history department how that could be. The teacher replied that Newton did not approve of teaching about the military and that to cover World War II, they taught about the internment of Japanese-Americans and about the liberation of the Nazi concentartion camps at the end of the war. George asked, in return, if they taught that it was the American Army that liberated most of the camps. According to George, the teacher replied that "they tried to make the Americans out to be the good guys when they could." At this point George asked the teacher for his name, and according to George, the teacher hung-up on him.

George does not know if the Newton School Department still teaches history this way in 2007. (The Newton Public School system is welcome to respond to this article at LTN72@charter.net)

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