I got this semi-kooky email about Smedley Butler, but then got interested because I like history. There’s a link in it, but basically he was a Marine for 30 years, resigned as a general, then went into politics and became an anti-war whistleblower. Anyway I think a holiday is out of his reach, but my question is, do you think teachers should teach about him in school? Seems like it might make them cynical, but then again I have a high-schooler who comes home with a head full of political fluff. So I guess I think they should. But it bothers me, like when they found out Santa isn’t real. Here’s the email:
Please take the time to learn about this important American hero who twice won the Medal of Honor in service of our country. He deserves to be recognized as a true and honorable American. Our feeling is that if you haven’t heard of Smedley Butler’s place in history, it’s because our educations are sorely lacking.
We feel that Smedley’s life and works should be widely taught in schools and that a day should be named in his honor. If you’d like to be a friend of Smedley please pass this message along. We don’t organize.
Friends of Smedley Butler
Happy Smedley Day!
There’s a lot of interesting info about him out there, like this.
“In 1931, Butler talked informally after a speech, and discussed how European conquerors became drunk with power and became “mad dogs.” He related an apparently true story told him by Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr. Vanderbilt spent time with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, and they were driving in an armored car through the Italian countryside, with Mussolini driving. During their drive, Mussolini hit and killed a child. Mussolini did not even stop the car, telling Vanderbilt as he grabbed his knee, “Never look back, Mr. Vanderbilt, never look back in life.” Mussolini passed off his hit and run incident with the observation that one life was insignificant when compared to the affairs of state.”