Is history going the way of cursive writing?

DOVER — Some notes and quotes between headlines and deadlines…

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Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Clarence Wolgemuth was a P-38 pilot who flew 107 combat missions in World War II.

This editor received a letter from the Dover resident a few days ago in response to a question asked last week about history’s place in our schools.

He said he wanted to share his “penny’s worth.” His letter:

From the Editor logo copy copy“As a 95-year-old veteran of WW2 (fighter pilot in the Southwest Pacific), Korean and Vietnam wars, I’ve been honored to have been invited by three of our local high schools during the past several years to tell my war stories. Two were to ROTC cadets and one to a special history class which included sophomore through senior students. All three were rewarding experiences and well received.

“Unfortunately, from what I discovered, it appeared they were the only students of those schools who were exposed to and interested in meaningful courses teaching our nation’s history. It simply isn’t taught other than generalities with lack of depth. I have a hobby of occasionally asking a high school students what he/she know about World War II, for example. Very few display any degree of knowledge of the war that Will Durant, in his 11-volume “History of Civilization,” called (paraphrasing) the most momentous and world life-changing event in the history of civilization.

Yes, the study of history in our schools seems to be joining cursive writing as obsolete subjects in our educational system today.”

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In recent weeks, it seems my in-box has been cluttered with hype from the presidential campaigns.

One of the oft-shared messages is news of candidate endorsements from daily newspapers.

You’ll not see one of those in the Delaware State News.

Our longtime readers are well aware by now that our opinion page is unlike most daily newspapers.

We believe our opinion pages belong to our readers and we’re here to facilitate community discussion, keeping it fair, well-rounded, lively and civil.

There is no editorial board here.

A passage from our Newsroom Guidelines sums it up:

“In some communities, people have forgotten they have the power to influence the decision-making process. They feel overwhelmed by the powerful elements of the local establishment, not the least of which may be the newspaper’s institutional voice, which towers over all other opinions from its sacred position at the top of the opinion page.”

We believe the public has the ability to make good decisions if we provide them a solid understanding of the issues and a place to debate and develop their opinions.

The First Amendment is at the core of our mission.

It’s important to us to hear from you if we’re to keep this newspaper one “of, by and for” the people.

Send us your viewpoints, and take time to post thoughtful comments on our online stories.

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During political seasons, we tend to get many letters in support of candidates and the ideas of those running for public office certainly are legitimate issues for public discussion.

Endorsement letters, however, should include reasons for supporting the candidate.

Quick “bumper sticker” messages will not be used.

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A few days ago, this editor reached out to Harry Farrow — a longtime resident of Harrington, former mayor, and former owner, publisher and editor of the Harrington Journal — for some historical knowledge.

The question was if he knew of any other time in Harrington’s history that a president or presidential candidate had ever made a stop there.

Donald Trump’s rally at the Delaware State Fairgrounds was a first for Harrington, he said.

He noted how fitting it was for a Republican rally to be in the Quillen Arena. It takes its name from longtime state representative Bobby Quillen.

Mr. Farrow recalled seeing Barry Goldwater on The Green in front of the Old Statehouse in Dover in 1964. How many of you remember the Arizona Republican senator’s stop on his “A choice, not an echo” campaign trail?

A few days later, Democrat Lyndon Johnson also spoke to a large crowd on The Green.

Reach editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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