Legion brings patriotism lessons to 'Pledge classes'
Johnson said the Pledge of Allegiance classes are available for grades K-6 and are tailor-made to be appropriate to the age of the children in the respective classes.
"We defined every word in the pledge - like what does 'allegiance' mean - and we taught them how to fold the flag properly," he said. "It went off very well. This is our fourth year doing the class and we (Post 122) have only been in existence for five years."
Mayer second grade teacher Patti Leonard said her students liked the class.
"I think they really enjoyed the film," she said. "If nothing else, they got more familiarity with the Pledge and understand more of what it means."
Leonard suggested the younger students would benefit from methods that utilize more hands-on teaching tools.
"Maybe if they had coloring books or other things like that," she said. "The little kids need more visual aids for learning."
Johnson said the Cordes Lakes American Legion post also presented the schools' libraries with patriotic materials, as well as flags for some of the classrooms.
"At Humboldt, we bought them 12 flags and 12 picture frames with the Pledge of Allegiance," he said. "We saw the classrooms didn't have flags in them and we wanted them to be there."
Johnson said the American Legion district command is considering expanding the program to more schools in the American Legion's local district.
"The word has gotten out to the district commander and he wants us to give him some information on these classes," he said. "He wants to get them started in other posts. We have 10 posts in our district."
Johnson served in the U.S. Navy in World War II as a gunner on Dauntless dive bombers. He flew off the aircraft carriers USS Hornet and USS Enterprise, both of which the Japanese sank during major naval and air battles.
"Both of those carriers were shot out from under me," he said.
Johnson offered his own opinion on the recent controversy regarding the adding of the words, "Under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.
"I don't see anything wrong with an individual stating his beliefs, but when an individual forces his beliefs on others, I don't think that is a proper thing to do," he said. "Isn't that what we fought for? For the right to say and do what we want, but not to force other people to do it?
"Every American has his right to his opinion, but I don't think three percent should run the United States," he said.