In a discussion with one of my many young friends last week, the subject of national awards came up. I was shell shocked about his total lack of information on our national awards as a country.

Back in Upper Primary as part of Civic Education however, we were taught about the need to be patriotic and how patriotism oils end up with citizens being rewarded by the State.

We were also taught about the Orders, Decorations and Medals of the Republic of Ghana. These comprised of State Honours (both Civil and Commemorative Divisions) as well as Service Honours in the various Services. By the time we completed Class Six, we knew about all the awards, eligibility criteria, conditions for the award, etc.

As we studied about these awards, a certain level of nationalism was built upin us, something that has stuck to date.

I remember how in 2007, the government of John Agyekum Kufuor was heavily bashed for creating the Grand Medal and using the NPP colours for the ribbons. Though this was a palpable lie, the NPP people did not defend it (whether due to lack of knowledge or otherwise). Unfortunately the coincidence of having the elephant on the medal and the use of the blue, red and white colours clearly made people think that it was created by that NPP government. The truth however was that the Grand Medal was created in its state in 1957 and has since been in existence in the same format. It was that episode that made me notice the levels of ignorance of many Ghanaians.

Let us remember that countries such as the USA, UK, France, Canada, etc who pride today in the patriotism of their citizens were able to do so only because they fused it into the development of their social fabric.

As I look at some current generation of young students, I wonder the amount of patriotism that is being built up in them (both word and deed). If we don’t, we’d live to regret sometime soon.