IN TIME OF WAR, there are many ways to serve. Some fight at the front, risking life and limb. Others labor quietly behind the lines, performing humble tasks that win them no medals. Yet these unsung heroes are no less essential for the war effort.
Such a man is Dr. David A. Yeagley,currently an adjunct professor of humanities at the College of Liberal Studies, University of Oklahoma.
Long before the enemy struck on September 11, Yeagley was sounding the alarm. He sounded it in his classroom; on radio and TV talk shows; on the lecture circuit; and in his popular cybercolumn on David Horowitz’s FrontPageMagazine.com webzine.
America was losing its way, warned Yeagley. We had wandered off the warrior’s path that made our country great.
Yeagley’s warning resonated with special poignancy, because it came from a Comanche Indian, whose people had suffered much at the hands of America’s warriors.
Yet Yeagley refused to play the victim.
In a column entitled, " It’s a Warrior Thing. You Wouldn’t Understand," he explained, "I admire a man who can beat me. I dare say, deep inside all Indians at least those who are still warriors at heart there is a special admiration for the white man… a warrior respects his foe."
Yeagley further explained, in a January 2001 interviewwith FrontPageMagazine.com, "I think it’s demonstrable that, historically speaking, the most people get the best deal under this system. … I’m a patriot because I love and value what America stands for. … As an Indian, I feel it is my sacred honor to save the white man again, this time from himself. Before he gives this country away, thus defeating me twice, I want to try to save what he built out of my land."
Yeagley was worried. Patriotism was in decline. A June 2000 Zogby poll showed that nearly one third of American college students were not proud to be Americans.
Clearly the schools had failed. Instead of teaching love of country, they taught that America was a racial hell, created by evil white slavers and Indiankillers.
Yeagley set out to change that. He lobbied the Oklahoma legislature to institute patriotism classes in public schools. His proposal won the endorsement of Governor Frank Keating.
But Yeagley’s efforts won him only persecution from his academic colleagues.
As his media appearances picked up, Yeagley’s superiors at Oklahoma State University, OKC grew nervous. Finally, they terminated him.
"You’re creating a lot of bad PR with this patriotism thing," his supervisor explained.
The attitude of Yeagley’s school was not unusual. But most Americans were unaware of the problem that is, until the events of September 11 forced them to take notice.
While most of us were festooning our cars and homes with Old Glory, schools and campuses across the country were harassing patriotic students with flag bans and other bizarre regulations.
The Board of Education in Madison, WI attempted to ban the Pledge of Allegiance and censor the national anthem.
Lehigh University ordered its bus drivers to remove all flags from their vehicles, lest foreign students be offended.
Sevenyearold Ashley Meyer was was reprimanded by her school principal when her father a Desert Storm veteran sent her to school with a starsandstripes tshirt.
In these cases and others, angry reactions from the public forced administrators to back down. But the deep hostility toward America festering in our schools had been starkly revealed.
David Yeagley wants to change that.
"Since September 11, it’s more important than ever to teach patriotism in American schools," he says.
Fortunately, the College of Liberal Studies, University of Oklahoma has shown a different attitude toward the Comanche patriot than his previous employers. Instead of firing him, they have helped provide him with a public forum for his views.
On October 30, Yeagley will hold a mock trial at the Oklahoma County District Court in Oklahoma City. There, student "witnesses," "plaintiff’s attorneys" and "prosecutors" will debate the pros and cons of teaching patriotism in America’s schools. District Court Judge Virgil Black will preside, and Dean James Pappas of the College of Liberal Studies will present opening remarks.
The event technically a university "class" will be open to the public, and will be covered by local media.