1776 Action Launches Nationwide Campaign to Celebrate September as Patriotic Education Month

This page provides background information on Patriotic Education Month as well as resources for students, parents, and educators to provide a true and accurate account of American history while also inspiring pride in being an American. 

What is Patriotic Education Month? 

At 1776 Action, we have made it our mission not only to counter false and misleading accounts of American history, but also to promote an honest, patriotic history that celebrates the story of progress that defines our nation and the heroes and patriots who have led the way. 

Last year, we saw coordinated attacks on the memory of many of our nation’s heroes, including the destruction of statues and monuments to such great Americans as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Francis Scott Key, Ulysses S. Grant, leaders of the abolitionist movement, and American soldiers killed in the First and Second World Wars. It is no coincidence that these attacks have come as the legacy of these leaders is also being desecrated in K-12 classrooms and college campuses throughout the United States. 

The decay of American history curriculum and a corresponding decline in Americans’ understanding of their past has been occurring for decades. It’s time to now not only expose the intentions of those who push this false narrative about the United States, but also to restore a version of history that tells the truth about our country’s many great triumphs.

A central component of this mission is honoring American heroes and keeping their stories alive for future generations. Especially at this moment, as radical groups attempt to indoctrinate our youth and rewrite our history for political gain, it is vital to the health of our democracy to ensure that a true account of our history is not forgotten. As President Trump wrote in his Executive Order establishing a National Garden of American Heroes to commemorate the greatest Americans to ever live, we must “preserve the memory of our American story and stir in us a spirit of responsibility for the chapters yet unwritten.”

Before President Biden cancelled the National Garden of American Heroes, the previous administration also released an initial list of names that would be included in the Garden. Among these names are Americans of every race, religion, and creed, including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony, and Jackie Robinson. The deeds of these heroes, their boldness, courage, tenacity, grit, and generosity, embody the founding principles of our nation and define the American Spirit. In preserving their memory and actions, we are preserving the American Dream. 

Upholding a true account of our history and the role of the United States on the world stage should also be a common goal that transcends party lines. All Americans should have the opportunity to learn about their heritage free from partisan bias regardless of who they voted for or what political party they identify with. Loving one’s country didn’t use to be a political statement, and it doesn’t have to be now. 

That’s why we are calling on all state governors, mayors, school board members, and local officials, Republican and Democrat alike, as well as every student, parent, educator, and citizen to observe September as Patriotic Education Month, and why we have provided a draft proclamation for officials to establish the month for their constituency. At a time when divisive rhetoric and partisan conflict seem to define most of our interactions with one another, we at 1776 Action hope that a celebration of our history can be a great unifying moment for all Americans.

What is 1776 Action Doing to Observe Patriotic Education Month? 

  1. We are calling on federal, state, and local officials to issue proclamations establishing September as Patriotic Education Month and celebrating the greatness of American history.
  2. On September 8th, 1776 Action is hosting a “Rally to Save our Schools” in coordination with Fight for Schools in Loudon County, Virginia, headlined by Dr. Ben Carson. 
  3. Throughout September, we will highlight students, teachers, and school districts throughout the country that seek to celebrate American history and preserve the memory of American heroes.
  4. We will focus in on stories and individuals that reflect the greatness of America and its history.

What Can I Do During Patriotic Education Month? 

  1. Encourage your fellow citizens, parents, teachers, school board members, and other elected officials to sign The 1776 Pledge.
  2. Share the Patriotic Education Month Proclamation.
  3. Post about American history on social media and share stories of American Heroes, including local heroes in your community.
  4. Celebrate Constitution Day on September 17 by reading the Constitution and wearing patriotic clothing or an American flag pin on your backpack or clothing.
  5. Talk about the meaning of American Patriotism and American Heroism and what those terms mean to you, who exemplifies them, and how you can exemplify them in your own life. Here’s how we define those terms at 1776 Action:
    1. American Patriotism – fostering a feeling of devotion and attachment to America that arises from a deep understanding of the country’s history and principles, and recognizing that the American experiment in democracy and self-government is not only unique in the history of the world, but has advanced human progress in everything from science to human rights. 
    1. American Heroism – evincing great courage or bravery in service of America’s founding principles, risking great personal sacrifice in order to better realize the promise of our nation, and applying God-given talents and abilities to help continue to make the United States a beacon of hope and liberty for the world. 
  6. Watch patriotic films like: Lincoln (2012), The Patriot (2000), The Tuskegee Airmen (1995), Gettysburg (1993), Glory (1989), Washington (History Channel Miniseries, 2020), Grant (History Channel Miniseries, 2020), John Adams (HBO miniseries, 2008), and Flags of our Fathers (2006).
  7. Read important texts from American history like: 
    • George Washington’s farewell address, in which, among other important topics, he talks about how citizens of a “common country” have a right not only to love the country, but that the country has a right to be loved by its citizens. (Link)
      • “Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.”
    • Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address, in which the soon-to-be President examines the attitude of the Founding Fathers toward slavery and argues that the Republican stance at the time in opposition to slavery was actually in line with the beliefs of a majority of the Founders. (Link
    • “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglas, a speech which, given in 1852 before the Civil War, celebrates the great hope of 1776 and the promise of freedom for enslaved Africans found in America’s founding principles. (Link)
    • “The American Dream” by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., a speech given on July 4, 1965, where MLK eloquently roots his argument for ending segregation and advancing equality in the “profound, eloquent, and unequivocal” language of our founding documents. (Link)
    • Medal of Honor ceremony remarks from past presidents (TrumpObamaW. BushClintonH.W. Bush
    • The Transcript of the Proceedings of the White House Conference on American History at the National Archives on September 17, 2020.
    • The below excerpt from Ronald Reagan’s farewell address, where he remarks on the importance of patriotism and restoring a sense of pride in being an American (Link)

“Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: “We the People.” “We the People” tell the government what to do; it doesn’t tell us. “We the People” are the driver; the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which “We the People” tell the government what it is allowed to do. “We the People” are free. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I’ve tried to do these past 8 years… 

Finally, there is a great tradition of warnings in Presidential farewells, and I’ve got one that’s been on my mind for some time. But oddly enough it starts with one of the things I’m proudest of in the past 8 years: the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism. This national feeling is good, but it won’t count for much, and it won’t last unless it’s grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.

An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn’t get these things from your family you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-sixties.

But now, we’re about to enter the nineties, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven’t reinstitutionalized it. We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs production [protection].

So, we’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important — why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, 4 years ago on the 40th anniversary of D – day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who’d fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, “we will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.” Well, let’s help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.

And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven’t been teaching you what it means to be an American, let ’em know and nail ’em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.”

  • The below excerpt from Donald Trump’s farewell address, where he warns against a loss of confidence in American greatness and in the values, history, and heroes of America (Link)

“As the world’s most powerful nation, America faces constant threats and challenges from abroad.  But the greatest danger we face is a loss of confidence in ourselves, a loss of confidence in our national greatness.  A nation is only as strong as its spirit.  We are only as dynamic as our pride.  We are only as vibrant as the faith that beats in the hearts of our people.

No nation can long thrive that loses faith in its own values, history, and heroes, for these are the very sources of our unity and our vitality.

What has always allowed America to prevail and triumph over the great challenges of the past has been an unyielding and unashamed conviction in the nobility of our country and its unique purpose in history.  We must never lose this conviction.  We must never forsake our belief in America.

The key to national greatness lies in sustaining and instilling our shared national identity.  That means focusing on what we have in common: the heritage that we all share.

At the center of this heritage is also a robust belief in free expression, free speech, and open debate.  Only if we forget who we are, and how we got here, could we ever allow political censorship and blacklisting to take place in America.  It’s not even thinkable.  Shutting down free and open debate violates our core values and most enduring traditions.

In America, we don’t insist on absolute conformity or enforce rigid orthodoxies and punitive speech codes.  We just don’t do that.  America is not a timid nation of tame souls who need to be sheltered and protected from those with whom we disagree.  That’s not who we are.  It will never be who we are.

For nearly 250 years, in the face of every challenge, Americans have always summoned our unmatched courage, confidence, and fierce independence.  These are the miraculous traits that once led millions of everyday citizens to set out across a wild continent and carve out a new life in the great West.  It was the same profound love of our God-given freedom that willed our soldiers into battle and our astronauts into space.

As I think back on the past four years, one image rises in my mind above all others.  Whenever I traveled all along the motorcade route, there were thousands and thousands of people.  They came out with their families so that they could stand as we passed, and proudly wave our great American flag.  It never failed to deeply move me.  I knew that they did not just come out to show their support of me; they came out to show me their support and love for our country.

This is a republic of proud citizens who are united by our common conviction that America is the greatest nation in all of history.  We are, and must always be, a land of hope, of light, and of glory to all the world.  This is the precious inheritance that we must safeguard at every single turn.”