Nazis and the Sixth Grade

29 06 2012

Touchy subject, Nazis. (Fingers crossed for understatement of the year nomination)

And not the touchy-feely sort of touchy either. That’s not such a bad touchy. In fact you might argue that it’s probably the best sort of touchy you could get. Or have. Or something.

But Nazis, not that. No sir.

Here’s the story. My grandfather is a WWII veteran. All sorts of wonky stuff has happened to this guy. He’s fought men, tanks, deer and the occasional toaster that refused to surrender its bounty. But I would wager that perhaps some of the strangest stuff didn’t happen to him in Europe but right here. In America. Land of the strange and home of the terribly uninformed.

My first example is a quicky. It might not even stretch into a paragraph of text. Though I am known for rambling which tends to extend the bulk of whatever simple thought I might have to a sometimes alarmingly bloated beast of ink and goofy rhetoric. Ah crap.

Back on track here. The Nazis are coming I promise. WOAH, woah, easy chief. Sit your butt back down there I mean in my story, I’m getting around to them. They aren’t suddenly and inexplicably invading Albuquerque. (I like to pretend I have a reader in Albuquerque. It make me feel international. Shut up)


As one of the dwindling survivors of one of the bloodiest wars in human history, my grandfather goes places to talk about the things he met, the people he did and the stuff he went. Er. Hang on a second, that doesn’t seem right.

Places he went, people he met, things he did.


He was introduced as a vet of World War Eleven. I’m a bit surprised seeing as I somehow missed nine of those wars in any sort of literature. Haven’t met a single vet. Was there really eleven? Of course not. Are greek numerals still being taught in school these days? Guess not.

On to example two.

So I visited him the other day with T.S., Terminal and my father. One of the things we talked about was a trip he took to the school right in the town where he lives to talk about the war. Long story short here. While in a town in Germany he found a Nazi flag, nicely folded in an empty building which he took. Souvenirs and all that jazz.

He still has it to this day.

So he brings it in with him because he figures, hey – piece of history to share with another generation lucky enough not to of had to live through it. SO he grabs a kid from the class to come to the front of the room and hold one end of it so they could unfold it to its full length for everyone to see. Now this flag is in good condition. And as you can imagine, being a German flag from the 1940’s, it sported a rather large Swastika in the center of it.

No one in the class knew what it was.

It was at that point that my grandmother grabbed me a bag of ice for my chin because that sucker hit the floor like a Narc floating down the Hudson with a new pair of cement shoes. I’m still thinking about this, days later. That night I laid in bed for a while unable to get to sleep because I was thinking about it still.

How? That damn thing is probably the most easily identifiable symbol of the past century. How does a classroom full of students not know what that is. And before you ask it was sixth graders. I can tell you that by the time I was in sixth grade I knew what a Swastika was. I knew what a Nazi was. This isn’t exactly secret stuff. Trust me, it wasn’t an isolated incident somewhere in a third world country.

It was a massive undertaking. A focused campaign of conquest in one of the most modern continents in the world. Genocide on a grand scale, never since replicated. It was kind of big deal.

So really, what’s being taught? How much of history has fallen to the category of “Too Far in Past to Matter Anymore”?

I’m still thinking about it. I’m probably going to be thinking about it for weeks to come too. This is why I decided to pursue a different degree in college. Education is a tricky thing which allows little room to expound.

It’s important. Really.

It is.





2 responses

29 06 2012
Your Cousin

Why have I never seen this flag or heard this story?

The last story I heard was Grandpa making the POW’s write home to tell their families they were POW’s and they were safe.

PS- he fed them all and took good care of them? Lol

29 06 2012
Kyllan Brindle

Well he’s had the thing forever. Obviously. Guess he only just recently got into flaunting it? I just saw it for the first time a couple days ago. I had no idea that he had it either.

And the story is recent. Last school year perhaps? Or year before – I don’t remember if he specified. I need to start bringing a recorder with me to go talk to him. He’s full of great stuff.

Way to add that bit about feeding POW’s at the end there. Im sure geneva feels better already. (I assume they read this blog. It references Nazis, how could it not?)

P.S. Go Swiss!

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