- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2001

One month ago today, America learned that it was not invulnerable. America learned to fear, and this generation learned for the first time what it was to experience a major attack by foreign forces on American soil. But also one month ago today, America began a rendezvous with patriotism, a love of country and of fellow citizens. Today it will celebrate that love, and it will mourn that fear.
Churches will hold special services. There will be concerts, lectures and performances. Around 7,000 restaurants will donate all of their profits to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. There will be a rally and concert at the Lincoln Memorial with charities, child advocacy groups, and more than 1,000 children participating. President Bush will speak at a memorial service for the victims at the Pentagon River Parade Field.
These commemorations are but larger reflections of the daily ceremonies carried out across the country since the week of the Sept. 11 attacks. Flags flying from motor vehicles are not limited to war veterans' Harley Davidsons. The invocation of God's blessings is no longer something to be embarrassed about. And tomorrow, children across the country will not have to be ashamed to simultaneously say the pledge of allegiance that symbol of patriotism long buried beneath too many layers of political correctness. Secretary of Education Rod Paige invited all 107,000 public, private, secondary and elementary schools to take part in Pledge Across America at 2 p.m. Eastern time Friday.
His invitation may not be welcomed by all. First Amendment rights issues have been raised across America as schools find renewal in patriotism and prayer in the wake of the attacks. In Rosemount, Minn., for instance, Rosemount Middle School Principal Larry Larson thought it would be better for older students to make their own decisions about reciting the pledge, and a proposal to recite it daily was tabled, Education Week reported. In Roxbury, N.J., Superintendent Louis Ripatrazone ordered the removal of "God Bless America" signs out of respect for those with different religious beliefs, the report said. Apparently he did not think about respect for all those in the community who believe in God, and who realize now, more than ever, their need for him. Local residents soon forced him to allow the original sign to be put up again.
The executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Barry Lynn, noted that there had been quite a bit of praying and an influx of clergy members into schools since the attacks. He complained that the Constitution had not been suspended since the attacks, and that school administrators should be cautious about violating First Amendment rights.
No, the Constitution has not been suspended. Perhaps for the first time in decades, its spirit is being revived. It is a spirit that upholds the freedom of every man to seek solace from God, that celebrates the triumph of heroism in the midst of tragedy and that finds patriotism worth defending.

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