When Principal Greta Hawkins, backed by the Department of Education, ordered that the song “Proud to be an American” be stricken from a kindergarten program, she sparked a debate about the efficacy of patriotic expression.
The central issue seems to be whether patriotic manifestations serve to unite or divide us. Many believe that love of country, and expressions of this allegiance advance our collective interests while others contend that such demonstrations stifle dissent and otherwise alienate those who do not share such patriotic sentiments.
American culture is steeped in patriotic fervor. Most national holidays celebrate this patriotic zeal. Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Fourth of July and Flag Day lead the list.