In his March 28 letter, “National anthem out of place?,” Eric Hilton asks whether it is usual in other countries for the national anthem to be sung at school ceremonies. As far as Britain is concerned, certainly not!
When I was a child, before the war, it was customary for the national anthem to be played — but not sung — at the beginning or end of a public performance, such as the showing of a film, but that was the only occasion in the normal course of events, and that custom died out long ago. Nor is the national flag to be seen except on some public buildings, or on ceremonial occasions, such as Coronation Day.
To my mind, the best way to inculcate love of country is to teach the general outline of its history, which will include, no doubt, the stories of national heroes and heroines. Unfortunately, in Britain today, as far as I know, this kind of history is no longer taught in schools. Instead, certain facets of history are selected and studied in depth, resulting in a loss of national identity and national pride among the younger generation.
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