A private university in Missouri has created a mandatory class for freshmen meant to teach patriotism.
The course, which is being offered at the College of the Ozarks, an evangelical Christian college in Missouri, is called Patriotic Education and Fitness. According to the Associated Press, the new course will teach students about topics including flag protocols, military customs, and U.S. politics.
Jerry Davis, the president of the College of the Ozarks, believes that understanding the military is now more important than ever.
“We have 99 percent of the population being defended by 1 percent who are in uniform,” Davis said.
Terrence Dake, a board member for the college and retired general, said that he thinks “if you give a person the tools of an education, the patriotic yearnings inside of themselves and the leadership tools that can be taught — they will be leaders.”
College President Jerry Davis said he believes “understanding the military now is more important than ever because we have 99 percent of the population being defended by 1 percent, who are in uniform. We should be more intentional about patriotic education, and from our point of view that needs to occur from kindergarten all the way through college.”
The required class builds camaraderie among students, according to Talan Saylor, a freshman at the college. The move comes amid a backdrop of some U.S. athletes protesting racial injustice by taking a knee during the national anthem. The college announced last month that its teams won’t compete against other teams whose players don’t stand for the anthem.
“We want to make it clear that we are not going to participate in a game where we think disrespect for the national anthem or the flag is being displayed,” Davis said. “I don’t think it’s a partisan issue. It’s an American issue, how we feel about our country.”
The College of the Ozarks held an event on Monday, October 23, to introduce the new course.