Patriotic Songs in American Schools – Where Have They Gone?
Updated: Jul 14
Patriotic songs have long been a staple in classrooms, instilling a sense of national pride and unity among students. However, in recent years, these songs have been noticeably absent from many educational settings. This article explores the reasons behind this absence and offers suggestions on how we can bring patriotic songs back into our classrooms.
Top 5 Patriotic Songs for America that belong in your elementary school classroom.
1. The Star Spangled Banner
2. America the Beautiful
3. This Land Is Your Land
4. God Bless America
5. You’re a Grand Old Flag
1. THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
The Star Spangled Banner is the national anthem of the United States. It was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 and is known for its patriotic lyrics and powerful melody. The song celebrates the resilience and bravery of the American people and has become a symbol of national pride. It is often performed at sporting events, military ceremonies, and other patriotic gatherings.
2. AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
America the Beautiful is one of the patriotic songs that celebrates the beauty and greatness of the United States. It was written by Katharine Lee Bates and composed by Samuel A. Ward. The song was first published in 1910 and has since become one of the most popular patriotic songs in America. The lyrics of "America the Beautiful" describe the natural beauty of the country, from its spacious skies to its amber waves of grain. The song also expresses gratitude for the freedoms and opportunities that America provides. It is often performed at patriotic events and is considered a symbol of national pride.
3. THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND
It is often considered a song that celebrates the beauty and diversity of the United States. The song was originally written as a response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," which Guthrie felt didn't accurately represent the experiences of everyday Americans. "This Land is Your Land" has since become an iconic American song, often sung in schools and at patriotic events. It emphasizes the idea that America belongs to all its citizens, regardless of their background or social status.
4. GOD BLESS AMERICA
Written by popular songwriter Irving Berlin, it was originally intended to be a song for a musical, but Berlin decided to save it for a more appropriate occasion. The song gained popularity during World War II and has since become an iconic American anthem. It expresses a sense of patriotism and gratitude for the country, with lyrics that celebrate the beauty and blessings of America. The song is often performed at patriotic events.
5. YOU'RE A GRAND OLD FLAG
It is often considered a classic American patriotic song and is frequently performed during Independence Day celebrations and other patriotic events. The song written by Broadway legend George M. Cohan, celebrates the American flag and the pride and unity it represents. The lyrics express love and admiration for the flag and the country it symbolizes. "Your a Grand Old Flag" has become a popular and enduring patriotic anthem in the United States.
Besides our list of the top patriotic songs, this blog post will address important subjects in order to bring light to an important issue:
A. An explanation of the importance of patriotism and patriotic songs in schools.
B. How and why the American education system has shifted away from patriotism in the last 50 years.
C. How to bring Patriotism back into American classrooms
The Importance of Patriotism
History demonstrates a good reason for propping up patriotism among citizens of the United States. Going back to the birth of the country, so many people have sacrificed their jobs, their families and ultimately their own lives to build and develop and sometimes rescue the principles on which our country was founded. Freedom, individuality and of course life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The focus on teaching patriotism in school allowed even our youngest students to establish their own national identity. This process offered a shared national value and gave young people incentives to take a more active role in civic duties.
The Shift Away from Patriotism and Patriotic Songs in American Schools
It is undeniable that patriotism in the American classroom has declined over the past 50 years, but this is not a phenomenon specific to the United States. Over this time period, there have been great advances in communication which have made our society a more Global society where -- in some cases -- borders become blurred. Communities and schools are becoming more diverse and newly arrived immigrants with varied nationalities are bringing their own customs and personal nationalistic feelings to this country. In a modern society, diversity is generally a good thing. But this spotlight on diversity has sometimes unfairly been interpreted as a rejection of national identity and symbolism, such as the American flag and the Star Spangled Banner. Another reason for the shift away from a nationalistic or patriotic attitude could be attributed to the fact that people are taking a harder look at the history of The United States and some negative aspects to that history that have generally been overlooked are now being scrutinized. This critical examination of national narratives is sometimes interpreted as unpatriotic or anti-national. Additionally, the impact of political correctness has also taken a toll on patriotism in education. No one wants to offend anyone these days and this “one size fits all” approach has slowly but surely negatively impacted patriotism. It must be understood that Political correctness is an extremely complex issue that affects people in different ways. Fully embracing political correctness has, in some cases, led to a sense of disillusionment or disconnection among students, who may feel that their country is not worthy of their loyalty or patriotism.
The Consequences of the Disappearance of Patriotism and Patriotic Music in American Classrooms
What does it mean if patriotism goes away. We are all living together in this country and our shared values undoubtedly give individuals a sense of “belonging” somewhere. A nationalistic feeling can be a healthy feeling. Without a sense of nationalism, our communities and our shared sense of civic duties are negatively impacted. A loss of nationalism means that less people will choose to serve in the military which could negatively impact national security and in turn, negatively impact our freedoms. A decrease in civic engagement translates to less people taking part in the election process, the process that is essentially the engine that runs our country and again, its deterioration will negatively impact us all. A loss of patriotism also amplifies the effects of political polarization which, in recent years, has become much worse and more destructive to the national discourse. If we’re all in our own bubbles, not thinking about our what our neighbors need, then we are simply exacerbating a posture that is deeply unpatriotic .
Restoring Patriotism in American Classrooms
Sing patriotic songs. For hundreds of years, patriotic songs were a regular part of the students’ day. That is no longer the case. The patriotic songs from American songbooks should be part of the curriculum at least every week (if not every day). Sing them, learn about them, learn where they came from and what they mean. See how other people around the country and around the world use these patriotic songs. They bring our country’s history to life!
Teachers should make a point to teach the history of the United States, all of the history. Talk about the good, the bad and the ugly and give students a chance to reflect on our country’s history and see how they as individuals fit into the bigger picture. Talk about our differences. Encourage students’ ideas on how and why we should strive to be more patriotic. Celebrate our American holidays in the classroom. Talk about how and why the holidays came about and cover how they are celebrated around the country.
In conclusion, yes, patriotism has declined in American classrooms over the past 50 years, and we’ve shown here how this decline continues to have a negative effect on both students and society at large.
Patriotism is necessary to help kids develop a sense of national identity, encourage civic engagement, promote respect for national symbols, and foster an appreciation for American history and culture. Teachers can help restore patriotism in the classroom by teaching and singing patriotic songs. These songs can emphasize why and how we celebrate national holidays, displaying patriotic symbols, and feature the contributions of diverse groups. By taking these actions, teachers can help make today's students more patriotic towards America, and in doing so, contribute to a stronger and more united society.
Content in This post has been updated from original version.