Edward Rosewater School, Omaha, NE – Class of 1952

If you’ve ever attended a College World Series (CWS) game in Omaha, Nebraska, you’ve probably seen my grade school, Edward Rosewater.

It’s on 13th Street, just opposite the entrance to the Henry Doorly Zoo and close to the "Zesto" ice cream store that is ALWAYS talked about by CWS commentators (I think they get a discount every time they mention "Zesto" on the air!)  A big ice cream cone from Zesto was always a "must have" when we walked home from school ... $.20 bought a good-sized cone in those days.

 Edward Rosewater School, was named after an Omahan who is credited for creating the first Omaha Board of Education and was regarded as the father of Omaha (NE) public schools.

Rosewater was the editor of the Omaha Daily Bee, had a reputation for always being "aggressive and controversial" and was influential in Nebraska politics as one of the leaders of the state Republican Party. During the American Civil War, while serving at the White House telegraph office, Rosewater was responsible for sending out President Abraham Lincoln’s “ Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.

I LOVE my old school, although in 1985 it was converted to apartments. I think of the thousands of kindergarten to 8th grade student’s running (excuse me) walking through it’s halls. Whenever I drive past it, I remember the wonderful teachers I had, the great friends we all were, and the love for America and the American flag that was instilled in us. I entered kindergarten at Rosewater when I was 5 years old (1943) and graduated in 1952. My kindergarten teacher was Miss Brown (all the teachers were called “Miss” if they were single or not). We learned social skills…how to not fight over a toy (yep, we actually had toys in kindergarten), played house in the little play kitchen complete with dishes and pans and discovered that being the “mother” had a lot more responsibilities than we ever knew about.

We napped on our little rugs every afternoon and learned that the teacher was “boss” even if our mother’s thought we were special and above reproach. Miss Brown gently but firmly molded us into good kindergarten citizens. I was in school during World War II, and patriotism was strong at Edward Rosewater. We stood each morning before class, put our hand over our heart and recited, “I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all” .  "Under God" was added in 1954, two years after we graduated.

To this day, I can’t watch our Flag in a parade, hear a patriotic song or recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” without getting teary eyed. Can’t help it….this is my country.

Next time you are watching a sports program TV or are at an event where the National Anthem is sung or watching a parade when the American flag is raised or is carried ...look around you. Those people with their right hands over their hearts were taught that many years ago in school......and haven't forgotten.

Note:  United States Code, 36 U.S.C. § 301, states that during a rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart; Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present and not in uniform may render the military salute; men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note; and when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

However, this statutory suggestion does not have any penalty associated with violations. This behavioral requirement for the national anthem is subject to the same First Amendment controversies that surround the Pledge of Allegiance.

Miss Reilly, our Principal (“always remember that the Principal is your “Pal”….well sometimes anyway), would call a school assembly every Friday afternoon and each class from kindergarten to 8th grade would sing. We learned all the verses to “The Star Spangled Banner”, “America the Beautiful”, “America"  (My Country Tis of Thee), and every patriotic song she could think of.  We sang the songs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines and probably some I can't remember....and we sang with gusto! 

My brother Bobby, was in the Navy and at every Friday assembly, Miss Reilly would ask us to think about those who are fighting for our freedom. I don’t remember if she asked us to say a prayer for them, but at that time, she probably could have.  I know my nighttime prayer always ended with “Please God, bring my brother Bobby home safe”

This is my kindergarten class…we must have been warned not to smile....I'm not in it. I don't remember why not..

Several of the kids left Rosewater after kindergarten.….the neighborhood Catholic school, St. Rose, didn’t have kindergarten so the Catholic kids started kindergarten at Rosewater and then transferred to St. Rose Catholic School which was just down 13th Street from Rosewater.

I believe this is the 2nd and 3rd grade combined class ...me, second row, 2nd from the right.

Finally, our graduating class of 1952.

In 2012, we had a small class reunion of the Edward Rosewater graduating class of 1952.  Not all were able to attend, but those who did, had a great time seeing friends and classmates that they HAD NOT seen since 1952.  

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