The program that is really exciting is a new Character Development Program that has been created by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. This program is being introduced into middle schools and high schools throughout America. Already many public, private and parochial schools have found that this program grabs and holds the attention of kids of all ages.
IDENTIFYING POSITIVE role models for our youth – and, more importantly, finding a way for students to identify and relate to these positive role models – can be a major challenge. But Hollywood stars and talented athletes are most often admired by young people today. Sadly, many of these high-profile people fail to live ethical lives. Some are exactly the wrong people for our kids and grandkids to emulate.
To quote from the program: “While drawn from the personal accounts of our living Medal of Honor recipients, this collection of lesson plans does not glorify or glamorize war. On the contrary, these dramatic ‘living histories’ and the accompanying instructional activities encourage students to consider courage from their own perspectives.”
To quote Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs, this program “demonstrates with crystal clarity that our young citizens, those who will carry our democracy into the future, can be taught the importance of service to the community and the values that made this nation great.”
Here are examples of the feedback this program has received:
“The students were in awe of these gentlemen, and many times tears came to my eyes listening to their stories. The Medal of Honor curriculum has been a wonderful experience for my students this year. We have all learned a great deal about the Medal, the soldiers and ourselves. Thank you.”
“(S)tudents remembered the advice from Jay Vargas to take care of each other and never ask a Marine (or anyone) to do something that they wouldn’t be willing to do themselves.”
“ONE STUDENT commented today in his journal that ‘the Medal of Honor recipients ignited a whole new enjoyment and pride for our country in me. … Seeing the medals around their necks made their vignettes come alive.”
What can you do to move this program along?
• Encourage everyone you know who are teachers or administrators to give this program a try.
• Go to the website and check the program out (www.cmohedu.com). When the website shows up on your screen, look to the left and click on “Tutorials.” To watch some of the video vignettes, click on “Portraits of Valor.” Of the various choices, I suggest you choose, Sammy Davis, Desmond Doss, Vernon Baker and Jim Fleming.
• If your children or grandchildren are home-schooled, encourage them to try this program.
• If you use Facebook, visit www.cmohfoundation.org and click the Facebook icon on the homepage. Don’t forget to “like” and “share” the page. Twitter users should visit www.twitter.com/cmohfoundation.
• For those not inclined to check out these websites, buy a copy of the book Medal of Honor, by Peter Collier. Read the book and watch the enclosed DVD.
The various lessons in this curricula focus not just on valor. There are lessons that highlight decision-making, service above self, citizenship, teamwork, values, leadership, patriotism, overcoming obstacles, volunteerism, persistence and commitment, As you watch the video vignettes (most about 10 minutes), what comes through most powerfully is the humility of these men and how much they care for others.
Those who are not in an educational program are encouraged to sample the program by watching a few of the video vignettes. I would recommend the vignettes on Sammy Davis, Vernon Baker, Jim Fleming and Tibor Rubin.
Please be aware that this program is well-tested, easy to use and completely free. It is a gift to America we should all cherish.
(The writer – a retired U.S. Air Force major general – serves on the boards of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, the Augusta Warrior Project and the Augusta Museum of History.)