College of the Ozarks, a private Christian college in Missouri, is making it mandatory for all freshman to register for a military science class designed to encourage patriotism, Time magazine reported.
The course is called Patriotic Education and Fitness. It combines the college's prior physical education and patriotism requirements and adds military training. It will include rifle marksmanship, land navigation, and ropes climbing, according to the magazine. It also will cover military customs and flag protocol, Time reported.
"We think there needs to be a more intentional program regarding our country and especially the military," College of the Ozarks President Jerry Davis told Time. "We don't think the military has been properly recognized, and students in general need to know more about the place of the military in the democracy."
"To train a better citizen, so to speak — I don't think there's a better way to do that than to remind students of the importance of the military and to be respectful of the country in which we live. Otherwise, this division that we all see in this culture will do great damage to the United States."
He told Time he hopes other colleges will offer similar courses.
"I think more colleges and universities need to make it their business to be more intentional about teaching about the country, about the military," he said.
Freshman Makenzie Bradshaw has already taken the course, KOLR-TV reported.
"Everyone should at least know the basics of what goes on," she explained. "They fight for us on a daily basis, and some of them even die. Military members sacrifice their homes and their families just to make sure that we have freedom. I really respect that, not knowing if I could make that same sacrifice."
The school has taken a strong patriotic stand in the past, Fox News reported.
Officials announced in September a new policy preventing the school's athletic teams from competing in games when players from opposing teams do not stand for the national anthem.
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