An Invitation to the Teacher Who Insulted the Military:
Come Learn About Those Who Serve and Inspire
Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge has an invitation for the Pico Rivera, California, teacher and city councilman who recently suggested that members of the military don’t have the right stuff intellectually:
Come join us on campus in Pennsylvania this summer for one of our graduate professional development programs for educators.
Freedoms Foundation promotes engaged citizenship, individual character, and personal responsibility through programs on our nation’s founding, its government and current topics relevant to liberty and freedom.
Attending our programs would not only give Gregory Salcido a better appreciation for those who volunteer to serve in the armed forces, but also offer a perspective on the importance of civil debate. We’ve been at this since 1949, and continue to be inspired by the students – some as young as 10 – and teachers who, even when disagreeing strongly, calmly and respectfully engage and challenge each other.
Salcido said at a Feb. 13 city council meeting that his words were intended to challenge students of the El Rancho Unified School District to attend and graduate from college. But the backlash to his original remarks suggests that his tone and phrasing were lacking. A week at Freedoms Foundation, among his teaching peers, could sharpen his delivery.
Our community and programs have benefited significantly from those who have worn the uniform. Start with Dwight Eisenhower, a West Point grad who was president of Columbia University as he and others created Freedoms Foundation. While planning our campus in Valley Forge, he was between gigs saving the free world, as supreme commander of Allied forces in World War II, and leading it, as president of the United States.
In more recent years, as home to the restored and revitalized Medal of Honor Grove, Medal recipients and other veterans have scheduled visits to our campus, many talking to our teachers about character and how to develop it among their students. Here’s a short list of those vets:
- Florent Groberg, a French-born immigrant who became a naturalized U.S. citizen and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland before joining the Army in 2008.
- Leo Thorsness, who enlisted in the Air Force in 1951, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees as an officer. Thorsness was a POW in Vietnam for six years and later served as a Washington state senator. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery this month.
- Jack Jacobs received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rutgers before entering the Army in 1966. He became an investment manager and currently serves as a military analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.
- Henry Wilcots is a Korean War veteran who experienced Marine Corps boot camp when it was still segregated. He used his G.I. Bill to study architecture, and helped famed Philadelphia architect Louis Kahn create a capital for Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Not all veterans have college degrees. But when it comes to helping teachers understand the pillars of character – courage, commitment, sacrifice, integrity, citizenship, and patriotism – the men and women of the military, many of whom put their own lives at risk to save others, are clearly experts.
Their stories resonate with students. Because of how young they were – many not long out of high school — when they joined the military or took the actions that earned the Medal. And because the veterans stress that one need not wear the uniform to serve.
In challenging students to fulfill their rights and responsibilities as citizens – at home, at school, or at work – the veterans and teachers who come here lead by example, without denigrating the service and sacrifice of others. We all have a role to play, talents to contribute, goals to achieve. We can grow as a community, celebrating all who participate, regardless of the paths they follow.
Come be challenged at Freedoms Foundation this summer, Gregory Salcido. We think you’ll be inspired, and in turn will inspire your students.