New Jersey Schools Not Required to Teach About Patriotic Holidays


Voice of the People:

I am thoroughly disgusted by the proposal of the NJ State Legislature to no longer require teaching public school students about patriotic holidays. Everyone in this country is provided with the opportunity to go to school, regardless of race, religion or socioeconomic status (citizen or not, I might add). The cost of this privilege is not just in the dollars of our tax money, but the lives of courageous men and women who sacrificed so we could enjoy this freedom; including veterans, presidents, founding fathers and others.

It is vitally important that students be taught the history and backgrounds of the patriotic holidays. We do not often enough consider the sacrifices that have been made on battlefields at home and abroad to secure the liberties we so richly enjoy. Memorial Day, prior to being day that honored all war dead, was first instated after the Civil War, to honor the soldiers who fought not only to preserve the union, but to ensure the freedom of thousands of suffering African American men, women and children. We take a whole month to celebrate “Black History”, and schools get a vacation day to honor Martin Luther King, Jr, not to mention all the effort that goes into learning about him. Now the Legislature is telling us it is unimportant to set aside a few moments to discuss Memorial Day! Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and other holidays are no less dear, and should be taught with equal respect to their origins and the intent of their initiators. It is appalling to see that Thanksgiving is being hailed as “Turkey Day” and has turned into a celebration of Native Americans and football, rather than the day of thanks to God that President Lincoln intended.

I also fail to see how removing the instruction of the patriotic holidays from our schools will save the taxpayers money. One of our goals in education should be to provide students with as complete an education as possible and to help prepare them to be good citizens. Saving the taxpayers money has rarely, if ever, been a motivation for anything in the public school system. Students are sorely and inadequately taught our nation’s history because of the spectre of political correctness that hangs over every issue. It would be a grave injustice to further ignite the flame of ignorance by deleting such fundamental information as to the purpose of our nation’s patriotic holidays.

If Governor Corzine approves this piece of legislation, he is not only out of touch with the purpose of our public schools, but should feel the genuine admonishment of patriotic citizens everywhere who treasure their freedom. I wholly support the veterans groups who are opposed to this measure and sincerely hope they prevail. In many schools veterans are invited to speak about their experiences and what serving their country meant to them. By supporting this legislation, Governor Corzine would essentially be telling them that their contributions and sacrifices meant nothing and thereby expressing a spirit of ungratefulness that would be hard to surpass.

It is imperative that our children are taught the rich heritage of our nation. Maintaining the freedoms we so richly enjoy, and often take for granted, is serious business. Honoring those who have preserved our way of life is the least we can do, after all they’ve done for us.




Joyce A. Meyers

January 12, 2007