Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

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Teaching Patriotism
Making Independence Day Education a Family Affair

by Barbara Wynne

July 01, 2010

As citizens who care about their country, sometimes we are so burdened with what is wrong with our government that we fail to celebrate with our children what is great about our country.

I was amazed at the number of families who celebrated Memorial Day at Crown Hill Cemetery. Crown Hill is a National Cemetery and one of the largest in the nation. With many gravesites dedicated to members of the armed forces, The Field of Valor is the final resting place for many of the courageous and brave soldiers who gave their lives to protect our country. This year’s ceremonies included a Civil War memorial service, the 141st Annual Memorial Day Ceremony, a Veterans Walking Tour, a band, a Roll Call of Fallen Hoosier Heroes and canons firing a twenty-one-gun salute. As an added honor, each military gravesite had its own American Flag. The day continued with singing, prayers and a wonderful program honoring all branches of the military.

In order to continue this honor, I encourage you to teach your children about the sacrifices made over the years by soldiers who protect our country and the values we cherish.

Children could be taught the etiquette of removing their baseball caps during the National Anthem. Teach them the Star Spangled Banner that was written by poet Francis Scott Key after seeing the Battle of Fort McHenry. You may also teach them the prayerful song, written by Irving Berlin in 1918 while serving in the U.S. Army, titled God Bless America.

While most school children are taught the Pledge of Allegiance, an oath of loyalty our flag and country written by Baptist minister Francis Bellamy in 1892, as a parent, you can take the extra steps to teach them where each phrase originated and what it means. This Independence Day, find a way to celebrate your heritage and independence with your family. Display an American Flag at your home and discuss the importance of tradition and honoring your country, freedom and Armed Forces.

Another important beacon, the Statue of Liberty and The New Colossus, the sonnet by Emma Lazarus that is engraved on a bronze plaque inside the Statue of Liberty, is a testament to the freedom that immigrants of past and present find within our great country. With that being said, I have recently learned of many friends who are taking the journey of finding their heritage and how they ended up in Indianapolis. If you have the time, see what you can find while trying to complete your family tree. While I am proud that I am the 4th generation of my family to live in Indianapolis, I am always thankful for my many new friends who are transplanted here in Indianapolis from around the world. They bring their successes and challenges, add new ideas and make things we do better—much like our ancestors.

George Santayana once wrote that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Teaching your children important pieces of history, heritage and patriotism is one of the greatest things that you will ever do for your children and your country. Use this Independence Day as a stepping-stone toward educating the next generation of patriots.

May your July be full of family fun. Remember, Indy’s Child’s calendar of events is bound to give you something new and exciting to do every day. For even more ideas, make certain you receive our weekly e-newsletter with more listings, contests, news and coupons!

God bless America, land that I love.