THE LEGAL argument of the maintennance of a system of
schools at public expense is that through a wider dissemination
of knowledge, an increase of learning among men,
the State may be betterable to perpetuate itself. On no other
ground than that of public necessity and the promotion of the
general welfare can the expenditure of such vast sums of money
for schools be defended. The State is built up and maintained by
and through the intelligence of its citizens, therefore we aim to
educate the youth of the land not only mentally, but morally,
socially and physically, that they may be the better fitted
for the duties of citizensip. With this end in view the teach
is expected to implant in the mind and heart of the pupils a love
for the institutions of our republic, to teach obedience to and respect
for rightful authority, and to inculcate all those principles
of justice, truth and honesty that will enlarge and beautify the
individual character and make for the common welfare, -- the
good of the state.
"Patriotism," says Dr. T. J. Morgan, "is the source of public
good, and hence should be the prim object of public school
training; the American public shool should be the nursery of
American patriotism." It is therefore not only the duty
of the instructors of our youth to teach patriotism,
true love of country, respect for authority
and obedience to law, but such instruction becomes a very pleasing
and helpful exerise in the school room. Much history can
be thaught in this manner. With "Paul Revere's Ride" you can
give younger students a better idea of the conflict at Lexington
and Concord than by reading pages of the usual text. Then
look at the material of this kind ready at hand: "The Landing of
the Pilgrims." Independence Bell," "Old Ironsides," "Union and
Liberty," "The American Flag," "Lowells Commemoration
Ode," "The Color Bearer," "The Grand Refiew," and may other
ballads and lyrics that might be given.
There is no better way of teaching love of country and our
free institutions than by singing patiotic songs in the school.
"America," The Star-Spangled Banner," "The Red, White and
Blue," and "The West Virginia Hills," are familiar to all, let
them not only be sung, but memorized and studied. Know
somewhat of the author of the piece and the circumstances
under which it was written. Our pupils should be familiar with
the life and character of S. F. Smith, Francis Scott Key, Oliver
Wendell Holmes, and the writers of our songs of patriotism.
Who of the seventy-five thousand that stood on Boston Common
theat memorable July day in 1895, and sang our National Hymn,
with its author in the midst, will ever forget the inspiration of
the occasion? Only a few weeks later he passed to his reward,
but the name of Samuel Francis Smith will live in the hearts of
the American people as long as the nation endures.
The history of the stars and strips should be familiar to
every boy and girl in America. Study Drake's "American Flag"
and learn the origin and growth of our National emblem, from
the first suggestions of Betsy Ross to the Committee of the Continental
Congrass in 1777, to the addition of the forty-fifth star,
When Utal became a State.
Let our youth learn to love and revere the symbol of
our freedom by saluting the flag when it is raised on the school
grounds. Some time ago the following was suggesthed by the
Youths' Companion, and it will be found a very pretty and appropriate
salute when properly rendered:
"We pledge allegiance to our flag and to the Republic for which it stands--one Nation,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
n New Yorkk city, and in other parts of the country where
there is a large foreign pupulation represented in the school, the
salute given below is used:
"I give my head and heart to my country--one country, one
language, one flag."
Another good way to teach patriotism in our schools is by
celebrating the birthdays of our leading Americans. Many excellent
exercises are now issued in pamphlet form, and teachers
will find no difficulty in finding abundant material for Washington's
Birthday, Lincoln Day, or the birthday of many other
prominent statesmen, historians and poets.
Indirectly connected with this subject is the observance in
our schools of Arbor Day and Bird Day, features of instruction
made quite prominent in may places. Trees and birds are a
part of our national domain, so to speak, and we appreciate hill
and dale all the more because of the happy associations with
these objects of nature.Thus by study the lives and characters
of noble men and women, by reading and reciting patricotic
uterances, by singing our national songs and getting in love
with the beauties of nature about us, we shall be able to arouse
admiration and enthusiasm for our country and its great intitutions.
The following from Hezekiah Butterworth is peculiarly appropriate here:
The blue arch above us is Liberty's dome
The green fields beneath us. Equality's home;
But the school-room to-day is Humanity's friend--
Let the people the flag and the school-house defend;
"Tis the School house that stands by the flag,
Let the nation stand by the school;
"Tis the school-bell that rings for our Liberty old,
"Tis the school-boy whose ballot shall rule.
West Virginia University, May 15, 1897
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