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Veterans' Voices: Instilling patriotism in today’s youth

It’s often noted that today’s young people don’t have a strong sense of patriotism like their parents and grandparents did.

Some young people still love America and understand the importance of serving a cause greater than themselves. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that love of country and patriotic values isn’t instilled in young people today the way they were years ago.

In my old-fashioned view of things, one reason for this is because the abundances of our great nation have distracted us from teaching our children how all this abundance became possible.

But, we also ought to admit that part of the decline in patriotism comes from the new “politically correct” culture within our education system. And, that’s not just my old-fashioned opinion. A recent report by a panel of national academic leaders note that U.S. public schools have turned away from promoting patriotism. That’s a real shame. Today’s young people are tomorrow’s public servants. They need to understand the greatness of America — and the sacrifices so many have made in the name of our freedom — to fully appreciate their blessings.

America needs more red, white, and blue in our schools, not less. Now this is my opinion, only. I think most or all of my comrades feel the same way.

Thank goodness for groups whose members are working to instill patriotism in today’s younger generation. In the words of Ronald Reagan, “America is a shining city on a hill and that its promises are boundless.”

We already owe our war veterans a debt we can never repay. Their commitment to today’s young students and their determination to keep patriotism alive deepen the gratitude we owe them. I hope we all instill this in our grandchildren. I know I do all of the time.

On my fireplace mantel is an American flag folded in a triangle encompassed in a case. It is that red, white, and blue that makes it so beautiful and means so much to me. Every time I look at it, it brings back memories of my five buddies that paid the ultimate price in Vietnam.

So please. Let your grandchildren know what patriotism is and what it means to you and why it is so important. Let me know your thoughts at

• • •

Royal Goodman,

U.S. Army,

Vietnam/1st Cav,

9th Infantry


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