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I remember when I was in school I learned the Star Spangled Banner, My Country Tis of Thee, God Bless America and many other patriotic songs. It seems like teenagers today do not know them at all. After taking a trip to China for 30 days about 10 years ago, I learned to appreciate my country better and still get a little teary eyed when I hear the national anthem sung at huge gatherings. During my travels, I notice that most countries really instill a sense of patriotism for the country in their young people but the US does not seem to be doing the same. I know that we have Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion but do people not realize that we have that because we live in the USA? Other countries do not have the same freedoms that we do. I feel that as teachers we need to help instill this in our young people. It amazes me when I go to ball games and other gatherings where people do not take off their hats or stand for our national anthem. I am also amazed by how many young teachers do not stand for the pledge in front of their students and even talk during this time. They should be role models for the students and show them how to respect other people’s rights even if they do not say the pledge. I truly respect their right not to believe in the same things that I do but I feel that people should respect my flag and my country by removing their hats and stand. We need to teach students that they need to do the same thing when they visit other countries too. Even at the Olympics when they play the national anthem of the country who won the gold medal, all athletes show respect by being silent and standing for this. I don’t feel it is so much of making students value and believe everything we believe in but I feel we should teach and expect them to respect the rights of others by doing this. My special education students learned the Star Spangled Banner and many even memorized it which made them proud since many of their friends in regular ed classes couldn’t do that. I also did a lesson on the first flag of the USA and about Betsy Ross. I explain why we have a flag, what it represents, and how to show respect when handling it. All of my students loved these lessons and I know from some that I’ve heard from 20 years later that they remember these lessons too. What kind of patriotic lessons do you teach in your classroom?