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Patriot Week and the First National Library Initiative

by Ryan Campbell, MPA
Guest Writer


From time to time we feature articles by and about OCBF grant recipients so that OCBF supporters can learn more about them and how their activities fit into the OCBF mission statement. This month we are featuring the Patriot Week program.

“The key to maintaining our liberty is an educated citizenry,” writes Judge Michael Warren, co-founder of Patriot Week and author of “America’s Survival Guide: How to Stop America’s Impending Suicide by Reclaiming Our First Principles and History.” Our system of government and the means by which our liberty is preserved should be of the utmost importance in education.

With this in mind, the unique and powerful message of Patriot Week (September 11-17) will be spotlighted in public, academic and law libraries across the greater Detroit community by way of a national library initiative aimed at providing an opportunity for citizens to expand and enhance their understanding of the remarkable circumstances that led to the birth and development of our great republic. Made possible through grant funding by the Oakland County Bar Foundation, metro Detroit libraries will participate directly in Patriot Week, a non-profit organization and seven-day event that envisions a renewal of the American spirit through a celebration of our nation’s first principles, the deeds or our founding fathers and subsequent generations, our vital national documents, pivotal speeches and historical flags that have shaped this great experiment in the nationhood of a free people.

Shortly after our nation’s inception, Thomas Jefferson warned, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, then it expects what never was and never will be.” In order that we as Americans will ensure the future of our liberties, it is incumbent upon us to reclaim those first principles that guided the actions of our forefathers in their intention to build and preserve a nation governed by individual freedoms, equality among its citizenry and the just rule of law. America’s first principles are more than a recipe for a free republic – they are the foundational propositions that continue to define who we are and what we stand for as the keepers of an advanced form of citizenship – one in which the voice of every American has value. Our first principles represent our collective conscience and our desires for our future generations. They embody not only our own history and destiny, but also the hopes of those seeking freedom from tyranny in every corner the world.

These were the convictions when, in 2009, Judge Warren and his then-10-year-old daughter, Leah, set out to create Patriot Week. Anchored by the key dates of September 11 (the anniversary of the terrorists attacks) and September 17 (the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution by our founding fathers), the schedule for each day focuses on a specific first principle of our founding. Among these are revolution, the rule of law, the social compact, gender equality, racial equality, unalienable rights, and limited government.

The launch of Patriot Week’s first annual national library initiative constitutes a great stride in moving our first principles from ideas to the actionable. The week-long program will directly engage patrons at more than 20 library branches in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw and Livingston counties with displays of books, periodicals, documents, DVDs and other materials related to the organization’s mission. Libraries will also honor and commemorate current military personnel, as well as the victims and heroes of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In keeping with Patriot Week’s mission to embody American liberty by promoting an educated citizenry, participating libraries will also be offering complimentary materials such as educational brochures on the founding principles of our government, informative guides for celebrating Patriot Week, and an Educator’s Guide to the Patriot Week website that features video lessons and lesson plans for K-12 teachers.

Among the area library branches that have committed to the program are the communities of Auburn Hills, Baldwin (Birmingham,) Brighton, Center Line, Chesterfield Township, Clarkston, Clawson, Clinton Township, Farmington and Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Highland Township, Madison Heights, Novi, Rochester Hills, Roseville, Salem-South Lyon, Troy, Waterford, White Lake and Ypsilanti, as well as the Adams-Pratt Oakland County Law Library. 

Since its inception seven years ago, Patriot Week has continued to expand its message, capturing the imagination and support of citizens across the nation. Now, with the launch of the annual national library initiative, citizen engagement at the community level will continue to flourish, standing as a reminder that the fundamental support of liberty remains in the hands of the people it serves. Often called “the father of American scholarship and education,” the famous dictionary publisher Noah Webster Jr. once wrote in support of the Constitution that “in no country, have the body of the people such knowledge of the rights of men and the principles of government.” With the continued support of local communities and generous contributions from organizations like the Oakland County Bar Foundation, Patriot Week’s national library initiative will ensure that America remains the bastion of the most educated and advanced citizenry on the planet for generations to come.

For additional information on Patriot Week and its first national library initiative, contact Rose Ann Gordon at rgordon@patriotweek.org, or visit www.patriotweek.org.