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Wednesday, July 11, 2001

I thank the Trib for its editorial pages on Independence Day. While I always find these pages well thought out and enlightening, this one was especially so. The combination of historical documentation and modern thought on that history put things in perspective.

It is disconcerting to note how little some of our next generation know about their heritage and how the focus of our republic has changed over the past 225 years, but I am not without hope. If one in four teen-agers doesn't know from which country we declared independence or that the Declaration was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776 (the July 3 edition carried a story on the results of a Colonial Williamsburg Foundation history survey), that means that three in four teen-agers do have at least some understanding.

I am proud to say that my kids have that knowledge and understanding. While their mom and I can take some of the credit for that, I have to give credit to their teachers at Brentwood High School. My son had a part in this year's musical production - '1776' - and he learned a great deal about this nation's founding, both from the play itself and from the director.

As a Boy Scout leader, I have had the privilege of working with several young men who had more than a passing understanding of freedom and liberty as they entered into adulthood. I am optimistic about the upcoming generation.

As long as we adults teach our kids about freedom and the responsibility that goes with it, I think that America will endure.

Thanks again for the July 4 editorial pages!

Mike Henninger

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