By John Higgins, PEO IEW&S Public AffairsApril 16, 2019
Spring time in American schools is about culmination. In a grade school, like Meadowvale Elementary School in Havre De Grace, Md., early development of skills and knowledge are the focus.
The results of some of those skills are displayed on every hallway wall, with images of owls in crayon, bees in paint and crocodiles (or alligators?) made from bright construction paper.
On April 12, a very specific set of knowledge was the focus: American history and community service. Meadowvale's Patriot Program is structured around foundational knowledge of American people places and things, including songs that are staples in America culture.
In addition students planned and executed service projects, led by their teachers, in the local community. In the culmination of this program, students and their parents gathering in the auditorium of the school to hear speakers, share knowledge and sing a few classics from the American song book.
Col. Terrece Harris, the Chief of Staff for Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors was invited by the schools principle, Mark Warfield, to speak to the kids.
"The history of Patriots goes back many years," said Harris. "But as a point of reference we'll go back to the time of the American Revolution and the declaration of the United States as an independent nation in July 1776… a long time ago." Harris said to the room of pre-K to 5th grade children.
"Some of the known Patriots throughout history…through deeds and accomplishments:" Harris said. "John Adams-Vice President to George Washington and 2nd U.S. President, Alexander Graham Bell-Scientist and inventor, on the military side the Buffalo Soldiers that served their country in many conflicts, Albert Einstein-famous scientist, Abraham Lincoln-16th President, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Civil Rights leader, and Women and men in the Armed forces-serving their country, as well as first responders, and outstanding teachers, faculty and parents."
Harris closed with a poem, Allegiance by Tech. Sgt. Michael Fournier, United States Air Force, which ends with these stanzas:
"The other day my son and I
were walking down the street.
We stopped to pay you our respect
when we heard retreat.
He asked me why we did it,
my boy just didn't see.
So I bent and whispered in his ear,
like my father once did for me"