Patriotism Class Now a Requirement at College of the Ozarks

The new course, mandatory for all freshman, will include topics like modern military customs, flag protocol and procedures and U.S. politics.
Published: October 27, 2017

A private evangelical Christian college in Missouri will now require that all freshmen take a military science course aimed at encouraging patriotism.

The course, now mandatory at the College of the Ozarks, is titled “Patriotic Education and Fitness”. It aims to educate students on topics such as modern military customs, flag protocol and procedures and U.S. politics, reports the New York Post.

“We think there needs to be a more intentional program regarding our country and especially the military,” says College of the Ozarks president Jerry Davis. “We don’t think the military has been properly recognized, and students, in general, need to know more about the place of the military in the democracy.”

The class combines the school’s prior physical education and patriotism requirements and adds more military training. Other topics include map reading, rope knotting and land navigation.

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The course’s mission statement says it strives to “encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country, and willingness to defend it.”

An introduction to the new class was held on October 23 at an activities field on campus.

General Terrence R. Dake, a 1964 graduate and the chairman of the Board of Trustrees, addressed approximately 280 students who had assembled to listen to the offerings of the class. Dake is also a four-star general and the former assistant commandant of the United States Marine Corps, according to a press release from the school.

“When I joined the United State Marine Corps, I entered as an officer because I had a degree,” says Dake. “I was given a leg up in life and a running start because I was able to come here to College of the Ozarks and get a degree that I would not otherwise have had. So value your degree. It’s something that will forever be of value to you and serve you the rest of your life.”

The class started last year as a pilot program, holding one session in the fall and one in the spring. The school chose to move forward with its plan to make it a requirement for all freshmen after seeing the success of the pilot program.

“This course is an excellent opportunity for students to be exposed to the military. Military service isn’t for everyone; however, everyone can learn great leadership qualities set forth by an institution that has been in existence for more than 240 years and is the most successful military organization in the world,” says Bryan Cizek, director of patriotic activities at Ozark.

In September, President Davis spoke out against athletes who have chosen to kneel during the national anthem, protesting racial injustice and police violence in the United States. He declared that Ozark would not play any team whose players choose not to stand for the anthem, reports TIME.

“I can tell you the students here, even during athletic events, have practiced respect for this country long before it developed”, says Davis, referring to the recent protests. “It’s not something that we just dreamed up as a reaction to something.”

Davis says the teachings of this class are more important now than ever because 99 percent of our population is being defended by one percent. “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.”

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