When I was in grade school my school’s headmistress was a German lady named Mrs. Froehlich (pronounced froi’-lick). Her physical appearance matched her name, as she sported a head-full of very tight curls with small round glasses – sort of like mine. She was old school. She believed in God, country, and in paddling students when they needed it. Apparently, I needed more than most, and found myself on the receiving end of her swat-stick on several memorable occasions. But I digress.
One of Mrs. Froehlich’s chief virtues was her appreciation for this country, which translated into an ardent desire to transfer that love to her pupils. We met daily to recite the Lord’s Prayer, the pledge of allegiance, and all four stanzas of the Star Spangled Banner. We even sang her original musical composition of the pledge to the flag. It sounds cheesy, but really, it wasn’t. She possessed an authenticity that was infectious, and she successfully communicated to her students a sense of patriotism, a true love of country for its own sake.
She wasn’t political, although looking back I’m sure she had well-formed opinions about who was right for the coutry. No matter. She taught us that this country was our home, and that our way of life was better than most others in the history of the whole world, and that we enjoyed what we had because God had blessed us. I haven’t forgotten those lessons. They are as real to me now as they were then.
On Friday, March 1, Mike Staley of the Exchange Club brought club members to dedicate the “Freedom Shrine” which the club installed last month at New Covenant . It’s a collection of original documents beginning with the Declaration of Independence to the Instrument of Surrender ending conflict in the Pacific theater in World War II. It includes more than twenty official documents and handsomely graces our hallways. It’s important for two reasons. First, it is the official record expressed in original documents of pivotal events in our history. Second, it makes a kind of dot-to-dot connection between generations demonstrating a thread affirming, defending, and working out what it means to have a free society.
At the assembly I found my self taken back to Mrs. Froelich’s daily meetings with us, and I strongly felt a connection to her and to what she taught me, even as I taught my own students. Love of country should be cultivated in our children, who need to hear about heroes from the past, and who should emulate the virtues of those who made our country great.
Thanks, Mike, and “Thank You” to the Lynchburg t of the Exchange Club.