It started off as a passing idea about a week ago, but the more I thought about it the more I wondered...what could the average high school freshman (or sophomore or junior, etc.) going to school in the Shreveport - Bossier area tell me about the 4th of July?

What have they learned about America's birthday? Would they be able to tell me in one simple sentence, "The signing of the Declaration of Independence. The day the United States declared their freedom from Great Britain."

Admittedly I was not optimistic. Maybe because of my age and the thought that comes with the passing of time that no generation coming after yours can measure up. Or maybe it was the video we saw a couple of years ago...December of 2018 when Louisiana Tech's football team was in Hawaii for a bowl game. A number of players, on a tour of Pearl Harbor, expressed surprise at hearing the story "for the first time." "Amazing," one said, "Why didn't they teach us this in school?"

And a couple of texts from the KEEL Message Board didn't exactly help lift my spirits:

"My 9th grader thought (4th of July) was Freedom from China day."

"My (high school student) knew about the Civil War, but didn't know what country we fought it against."

And finally, there was this story from another listener, telling about conversations with his grand niece and American civics:

"She knew there are 50 states, but we were shocked she didn’t know there were originally 13 states.  She knew George Washington was our first president, but didn’t know he had been the revolutionary general that led the fight for independence.  She knew there had been a Civil War, but thought it was mostly slaves fighting white men for their freedom.  She knew Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy had been assassinated, but didn’t know the names of the men who shot them.  She thought Abraham Lincoln was shot in a movie theater while watching a film.  She knew Franklin Roosevelt was president, but had never heard of Theodore Roosevelt."

And he wrapped up with:

"The first time she voted was in the election this past November, and she proudly expressed her support for Biden and Harris.  Her main reason was because Biden has promised to pay her college tuition; but she doesn’t understand how taxpayers would be the ones paying the bill."

So, here's my plan...and request. If you have, or if you know someone of high school age, ask him or her a simple question. Ask what they know about the 4th of July, why it's important and what it means to them.

Then let us know. Robert and Erin via the KEEL Shreveport Security St=ystems Board via the app. We can't wait to hear!

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