College Presidents for America

The President of Harvard University recently made a speech calling for more patriotism at American universities. I have to applaud his statements, and believe it’s time academia spoke out more openly in support of this great nation.

The second respect in which I believe our response to the events of September 11 can help us strengthen our country is by leading to a rebirth of a national sense of community. And even a sense–and I’m using a word that I’m firmly convinced is used too infrequently in communities such as this university community–a greatly increased sense of patriotism.

There was a time in our country when if you turned on the news and American troops were engaged in battle, Walter Cronkite said, "Our soldiers prevailed today." Or, "Our soldiers struggled today." It was a very significant thing for our country, I believe, when that pronoun "our" ceased to be part of the description of what the American military did. It was a very significant thing for our country when the tragic events of the Vietnam War period led to disaffection, which in many ways lives with us today, toward people who wear uniforms.

It is all too common for us to underestimate the importance of clearly expressing our respect and support for the military and individuals who choose to serve in the armed forces of the United States. Speech should be free and policy differences should be debated, but respect for all, including those who wear military uniforms, must be a basic value in our community.

Truer words have rarely been spoken. However, I would like to see this sentiments backed up at Harvard, by allowing the ROTC to drill on campus grounds and allowing military recruiters into Harvard Law School. Noble sentiments are appreciated, but when they are coupled with noble actions they are far more powerful.