A reader sent along the paragraphs below from The New York Times, June 13, 2004,
"A Cold Morning in Vermont," by John Tierney. Heres part of this remarkable story, assuming it’s true:
"IGNAT SOLZHENITSYN understands why so many
people have warm thoughts of Ronald Reagan, but one
of his earliest memories is on the frigid side.
In 1980, Ignat was an 8-year-old transplanted to
Vermont by his father, the famous chronicler of
Siberia’s gulags. As Ignat tells the story, on the morning
after the presidential election he got a taste of American
political re-education at the progressive private school
he and his brothers attended.
In response to the Reagan victory, the school’s flag was
lowered to half-staff, and the morning assembly was
devoted to what today would be called grief counseling.
The headmaster mourned "what America would
become once the dark night of fascism descended
under the B-movie actor," recalled Mr. Solzhenitsyn,
who is now the music director of the Chamber
Orchestra of Philadelphia. "At one point he interrupted
himself to inquire if anyone present did not share his
gloomy view of the Reagan victory."
The only students to raise their hands were Ignat and
his two brothers, Yermolai and Stephan. After a stony
silence, he recalled, they were sent outside, without
their coats, to meditate on the error of their ways
underneath the lowered flag. Vermont in November was
hardly Siberia, but there was frost on the ground, and
they spent an hour shivering and exercising to stay
warm. Still, Ignat said, their political exile was a relief
from sitting in the auditorium listening to the party line."