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An elementary school in Redmond, Washington, canceled its annual Veterans Day celebrations in favor of recognizing a United Nations-sponsored International Day of Tolerance.
Benjamin Rush Elementary in the Lake Washington School District typically holds a Veterans Day assembly for its students, featuring the school choir singing "It’s a Grand Old Flag," "This Land Is Your Land," and the national anthem, according to 770 KTTH.
Instead, the school's choir will sing songs relating to the theme of "Tolerance, Acceptance and Kindness," with titles such as "Live in Peace," "Namaste," and “Amani Utupe.” The latter was composed by Patsy Ford Simms and was written in English and Swahili with the alleged meaning of "grant us peace, give us courage."
The day of tolerance was created by the United Nations in 1996 and echoes many of the diversity, equity, and inclusion mantras present in progressive politics.
"Societies are ever more diverse – but intolerance is growing in many places," the U.N. document stated. "The biggest crisis of forced displacement since the Second World War has spawned hatred and xenophobia against refugees and others."
The declaration stated that much like anti-racism and diversity initiatives, tolerance requires state capital and re-education:
Tolerance is much more than passively accepting the other. It brings obligations to act, and must be taught, nurtured and defended. Tolerance requires investment by States in people, and in the fulfilment of their full potential through education, inclusion and opportunities. This means building societies founded on respect for human rights, where fear, distrust and marginalization are supplanted by pluralism, participation and respect for differences.
Parents reportedly received little information about the event's details, apart from announcements of the "Peace Assembly" in late October and early November 2023 newsletters.
The school district told "The Jason Rantz Show" that students would spend most of the time singing during an assembly, with each grade level performing two songs that they learned in music classes.
The district spokesperson said that the school would still teach about Veterans Day and find time to honor the heroes. This would be accomplished by "watching videos about the sacrifices that veterans have made and making cards to thank veterans."
The cards would then be delivered to the Seattle VA Medical Center to provide a "more personal connection between students and veterans," the spokesperson added.
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