In the wake of rampant disrespect of the national anthem by sports players and teams, a small, private Christian school in Missouri is requiring that all its incoming freshmen understand and learn to honor the military and everything for which it stands.
The College of the Ozarks has created a new Patriotic Education and Fitness class, which will teach students about military customs, American flag protocol, map reading and marksmanship, among other subjects. College president Jerry Davis told Fox News that the class is mandatory. Approximately 1,500 students attend the school.
“There is too much of an indifference toward the military in this country, and people seem to have forgotten that people in the military are the ones that continue to make the sacrifices for the rest of us,” said Davis.
He acknowledged that it’s not the typical curriculum for a non-military school, but said it “helps support the college’s patriotic goal” and would count toward ROTC fulfillments if interested students decide to pursue that program.
“We think, in the culture, there is a problem in the division between the 1 percent who serve in uniform and the 99 percent living the good life because someone else made a sacrifice in a military uniform,” Davis observed. “Colleges should be more intentional about teaching young people about the military and such things as leadership and cooperation and teamwork, things the military does very well.”
The class has been well-received by students who are enrolled in it, said Davis, who have reacted positively to the curriculum, so far. Davis said he hopes that other schools will consider doing the same thing.
Talan Saylor, an 18-year-old freshman from Illinois, told the Springfield News-Leader that the course is fostering camaraderie among students.
“We all go through, kind of, the same thing, so going through a patriotic class where we are learning about our country and fostering a love for that country together is really special,” he said, noting that he intends to eventually join the military.
The College of the Ozarks enacted a new “No pledge, no play” policy in September, pledging that its sports teams won’t compete against other schools whose athletes kneel during the national anthem.
“We just are not comfortable with that sort of thing going on here. We think it undermines the school and is a bad example to young people,” Davis told Fox News. “We think we are all Americans and everyone should respect the country and the flag — and of course we can deal with that what people believe to be problems in a different context.”
Davis expressed his disappointment in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, which didn’t establish a set policy of how athletes should conduct themselves during the national anthem.