Practicing Patriotism

A deeper look at the ways students exhibit patriotism and teachers teach American ideals

Americanism or American Patriotism means something different to all of us and it is a characteristic that is shown in American high schools. To some it is loving your country in school by standing for the pledge every morning in remembrance of the sacrifices that were made for us to be here.

“I think that if someone chooses to sacrifice their personal time to go and serve their country and people, I think that is a really honorable thing to do and really respectable. So when I have the chance to stand up for the pledge I choose to do it because I think of them and their sacrifices and what I can do for them,” senior Rachel Louthan said. 

In many ways in school we associate patriotism with the Pledge of Allegiance. It is an aspect that is is unique to American culture. It’s one of the only countries that says the pledge every morning before school. For most other countries, the Pledge of Allegiance can seem like a nationalistic practice that challenges democracy.

“I think American society is more patriotic than Spain. I mean if in Spain there were something like the pledge of allegiance, people would complain and no one would do it because it’s like they are making you love your country,” senior foreign exchange student, Paula Minchot Gracia said. 

Though some individuals might feel forced to feel patriotic in school, there are also others that genuinly are. They love America.

“I would say I am patriotic because I just like the government and  where I am living and what is going on and I am happy that I was born in the United States,” senior Anthony Audsley said. 

The Pledge of Allegiance is not the only way patriotism is implemented in school. Patriotic Beliefs is taught throughout American schools, Nebraska included. The Nebraska Legislation in Statue 79-724 says, “–arrange its curriculum in such a way that the youth of our state have the opportunity to become competent, responsible, patriotic, and civil American citizens”. 

Patriotism is part of the learning process in high school and is taught across history classes. In Millard North the history classes are designed with inquiry based education which allows students to question and discuss the history of America. Students are allowed to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of patriotism alike. They discuss the importance of patriotic unity that creates strength, shared values and goals. Students are also able to discuss the dangerous aspects of Patriotism with the help of teacher to guide the discussion.

“As the grownups in the room, how do we convey the messages of the tightrope of, where does patriotic and proud end and where does it start being destructive. That is a discussion that’s best had intelligently with help a from a teacher and input from students,” Diehl said.

In other words, there are many different factors that are put into teaching patriotism in schools. Millard North teachers have their unique ways and specific values that they believe are important to American ideals.

“At least here [Millard North] the value is very much criticism, critical understanding and asking hard questions is patriotic. That is the method of self improvement. And we are, as the state document says, in order to form a more perfect union, we’re an unfinished product that must constantly ask itself, are we doing the right thing,” Rohde said. 

Patriotism can be seen through the hallways of Millard North and the American values that each student believes to be an important American principles.