The Patriotic Assembly: Two Perspectives

Fatima Al-Saedy

The patriotic assembly answered one question: How can U.S. citizens best show their patriotism for this country? The answer? By serving in the military. But the military isn’t for everyone. There are many who would prefer to challenge the systems that are already in place. Likewise, there are many ways to serve your country that don’t include joining the military.

The assembly kicked off with the pledge of allegiance and an introduction to the guest speakers. Both were veterans who had served in multiple U.S. wars.. Ethan Hepworth, a senior who attended the assembly said, “Instead of just focusing on war and military service, we could have had someone who works in a government position, an activist, and a veteran to even out the learning environment.” Conducting the patriotic assembly this way would allow for diverse definitions of patriotism and for all students attending to feel like their patriotism matters.

After hearing the assembly in its entirety, Pranu Sudabattula, a senior at CHHS, agrees with Ethan that there should be more inclusion of diverse thought processes in assemblies like these. “My parents came here in the ‘90s from India; they were not born on American soil but that doesn’t make them less patriotic.”  The assembly focused on war heroes who have fought and served in this country, however, it did not bring other sides of patriotism, like those who fight hard and long for their goals to achieve their American Dream.

 Sudabattula continued, “You can take pride in your country and its accomplishments; however, you are also trying to bring out its best. This means you aren’t afraid to call out the things that need change because, at the end of the day, if you’re ‘patriotic’, you want what’s best for the country.” The other side of patriotism is fighting for things to change in our society. With the Black Lives Matter protests that happened during the summer of 2020, the nation shook with the need to talk about what many viewed as a systemically racist jail and police systems targeting mostly men of color. 

Many media outlets frowned upon these protests and identified them as acts of terrorism.. Others promoted the moment as a call to action and claimed that it was patriotic for these protesters to speak out about a system they felt was broken. The willingness to speak up and to question a system was one of the philosophies of our own founding fathers. Specifically, Thomas Jefferson, who solely believed in questioning authority. He would have not wanted us to walk blindly behind politicians, instead of building our ideas and opinions. 

This patriotic assembly taught us that war heroes are a large part of patriotism. Even though we have our own ideas of patriotism, being unhappy with the state of this country doesn’t mean we should just complain and wish for change. If everyone waits for others to take action, then who is going to take measures? Individuals have the first amendment right of freedom of speech and to assemble. Taking action doesn’t mean having to conduct a whole political campaign. Starting local, even in your neighborhood, can make a difference. 

 

AnnaLeah Mecham

Patriotism is defined as devotion and vigorous support for one’s country. In a YouGov (an international market research website) survey, The United States of America was declared the most patriotic country in the world. 41% of respondents said “yes my country is the best country in the world” and 32% believe the US is “better than most countries.” The idea of being patriotic is praised in American societies, and this is evident in how Copper Hills has an assembly dedicated to this idea.

The patriotic assembly is held every year and the student body officers are heavily involved in this process. Student Body Spirit and Pride officer Joey Coleman stated, “The Patriotic Assembly was great.” Coleman also expressed that he felt the speeches were important and that the veterans went above and beyond by tying in Copper Hills themes. He continued, “It was great that students were able to honor their family members.” Coleman is referring to when students were asked to stand when they had a family member who had served in the military as the different branches’ songs were played.

 America deserves to be celebrated, and unfortunately many students in the audience were not respectful of the assembly’s purpose. Coleman says, “I feel like there are some things to work on that involve all of us including myself. The biggest being our assembly etiquette. We all need to focus on and make sure we’re respectful to our presenters.” These presenters performed amazing acts of patriotism and deserve our entire respect and attention, unfortunately, that isn’t what the veterans received. Coleman continued, “We need to make sure we’re quiet when we’re supposed to be and loud and cheerful when we’re supposed to be.” It is necessary for students to treat the assemblies appropriately so Copper Hills can continue to have them.

“Overall it was an awesome experience and a great way to celebrate our amazing country.” The patriotic assembly is a yearly reminder of how much respect America deserves, as there are people who have given everything to get our country to this point.

Coleman declared his own patriotism by stating, “The United States of America is the greatest country to have ever existed on the earth. As citizens of such a great country, we should be excited to celebrate it every chance we have. We need to remember and appreciate the tremendous courage and the sacrifices of the men/women who have fought to preserve it. They have enabled us to preserve a system where we can truly be free.” 

Students of Copper Hills, there is so much in America to be grateful for, and the patriotic assembly is a chance to express your feelings as you give presenters respect. There are flaws to America as a country, but we still live here. There are people risking everything to come to America. Shouldn’t those of us who are already here acknowledge the privileges being in America provides? Joey Coleman has pride in his country, do you?