This will appear in the Bernice Banner, Bernice, Louisiana, USA, the week of 6/15/2015.

My daughter, her husband and child live in Monroe. It was convenient for my granddaughter to attend kindergarten at the local Christen school, OCS. Since this is in the proximity of my work location I can occasionally visit her school during sponsored functions. A couple of weeks ago I visited her kindergarten graduation at the high school gym. Everyone stood as the children led the packed gymnasium in the pledge of allegiance. A certain special pride came over the audience as the congregation faced old glory, hand on heart and political correctness had no place in the day. Then the children turned to the crowd and in perfect unison they burst into a song by George M. Kohen from his play “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. There was something special listening to these five year olds singing “It’s a Grand Ole Flag”.
As I sit here writing this on the American Holiday of Flag Day I realized that we have lost something over the past few decades. Instead of standing tall, chest out and swearing allegiance to the flag of the United States of America we have slowly migrated to a neutral stance where Americanism, Patriotism and American spirit has been replaced with political correctness/don’t-do-anything-to-offend-anyone mentality. It doesn’t matter that Americans have shed blood around the world to allow us to maintain freedoms that other countries only wish they could have. It doesn’t matter that we live in a country born from religious tolerance and a separation of church and state. Nor does it matter that with few exceptions, we all are from immigrant families that came to a country that welcomed its’ new citizens but with the understanding that these new immigrants be citizens of this great nation and not expect this nation to transform to the country the immigrant came from.
It is important that we instill into our youth how fortunate they are to live in this free nation. The individual citizen is not entitled to anything other than an opportunity to attempt to do what that person desires to be. However, the Nation, The United States of America, is entitled to the sweat and blood and loyalty of an appreciative citizenry. Many of our youth have gone off into harm’s way to protect our freedoms. Unfortunately, due to an inability of our Federal Government to see the crisis that has been building for years, our youth will again take up arms to confront the deadly terrorist of the Middle-East before a prolific advance of Islamic extremism hits our shore. It is important that national pride is inserted into our school systems.
We need curriculum added at the elementary and high school levels that extol the good of our country. Make history fun and enjoyable and relive the sacrifices that the common American made to make this country great. Build a sense of pride and identify the debt owed by Americans to this great nation. Show reverence to our flag; the same flag that flew from John Paul Jones’s war ship during the Revolution War, from New Orleans during the War of 1812, from the Rough Riders as they stormed up San Juan Hill in Cuba and flew proudly as America landed in France in WWI and Omaha Beach in WWII and recently in Korea, Viet Nam and the Middle East. Our schools provide a common landing platform to launch our love of country.
Make no mistake, we are not a perfect country and we have a long way to go. We must recognize that the building is not over but we must also recognize that we have come very far and although our form of government is not perfect it is so much better that all others.
John Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

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