Take Your Hat Off When The Flag Goes By

I celebrated Independence Day in three states this year.

Sunday morning: attended church in San Diego.

Sunday evening: fireworks in Las Vegas.

Monday evening: barbecue and fireworks at parents’ in Utah.

The Sunday morning of my holiday was where I felt the most patriotic. In the ward we attended, there were several families whose dads were away because they were deployed with a branch of the military. Also, my cousin’s husband was there with us. He’s a fighter pilot in the Air Force, living in Korea with his family, but spending much of his time away on tours of duty. We sang patriotic hymns, which I love, and I gave my cousin’s husband a hug at the end of the meeting. (I hugged other family members, too, because we were going our separate ways after, either home to Utah, back to Oklahoma or returning overseas to Korea.)

Eventually, my thoughts went to a play my elementary school put on when I was in 4th grade: Take Your Hat Off When the Flag Goes By!

As a kid, because of that play and because of a debate teacher in 5th grade, I learned a lot about the Constitution and how American politics work. It planted the seed in me and I’ve been a bit too political since then. But back to the play.

We sang a song called “Miracle in Philadelphia.”

We sang another song called “We Hold These Truths.”

In fourth grade, I had part of the Declaration of Independence memorized. How cool is that?

There were other songs about justice, checks and balances, free enterprise, and George Washington. I remember the melodies and part of the words of almost every song. At the very end, every grade in the school came out on stage or in the auditorium to sing, “Take Your Hat Off When the Flag Goes By.”

I feel like I’m lucky to have received this type of education growing up. Was it just me or did other schools really spend time teaching about the founding of this nation? Sometimes I wonder if kids know much about it or not. How did you learn about the Founding Fathers and the Constitution as a kid? Were you in that play with me?

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4 comments

  1. I wasn’t actually in the play, I got sick right before. I remember watching the play, though, and I certainly remember learning all those songs. And that some people changed the words to, “Take Your Pants Off When the Flag Goes By.” Ahh, elementary school.

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  2. Oh boy! So many memories and I totally can still sing all of those songs. Maybe that’s what made me so interested in politics too…

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  3. I went to school in what I now realize is a pretty liberal Boulder Valley School District, in Colorado. The most memorable point of fourth grade curriculum was my introduction to the world of recycling. I was never exposed to the various documents of the Founding (I read the Declaration of Independence for the first time this weekend).

    The more I learn about the origin of this great country, the more I wish I had been taught about it when I was young. I’ve come to the conclusion that, regardless of whether it’s taught in the schools my children will attend, they will learn the principles of the Founding in my home.

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  4. I wasn’t in the play with you, but Lacy must have been because I remember those songs from her. I remember Lacy telling me that some twerpy kid sang, “Take your clothes off when the girl walks by”. And now I think that whenever I hear that song.

    I also remember “♫♪We hold these truths… to be self-evident… that all men (and women!) were created equal♫♪♫…”

    I don’t remember how in-depth I learned about all that stuff, but my interest has been much more keen as an adult.

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