“I pledge allegiance to the Flag…”
If you’re older and have been in the United States for a good length of time, you may remember the days of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance each morning, at the start of school. I know I do. I used to look forward to it. Throughout each elementary school—and grade—I attended, just a few minutes after 8:00 in the morning, the whole class would stand, face the flag, all would place their right hands over their hearts, then we would (collectively) recite the pledge.
In middle school, it was pretty much the same thing. In high school, same. I always enjoyed it. I really enjoyed every one of ‘em. Why am I mentioning it? Because school has started again. At the middle school where I work, they have always had a morning Pledge of Allegiance, however, it was always during the fourth period (they call it Advisory). It was also only done once a week, Mondays.
This year, was the first year—in a long time—that our school district has begun the academic year on a Monday. Fine, nothing to worry about. And, as is typical on first days, the principal came over the p.a. system and asked everyone to stand for the pledge. Cool!
It was—for me—a pleasant surprise. First-period pledge. Nice.
On Tuesday, it happened again. Then, on Wednesday, again: “Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance…” I was blown away. And they kept doing it all week! It appears that this has become the norm for the school year. Honestly, I’m okay with it. I love it. In other posts, I have mentioned some personal interactions involving the American Flag and how I feel about it and what it represents.
I’m sure that a majority of how I feel about what the American flag, the U.S.A., and the Pledge of Aligiance has to do with the fact that my mother and her family are immigrants, her father served in the U.S. Army, a large portion of my family (brother, cousins, and other extended family) have served in different armed forces as well as law enforcement, not to mention my own military participation… Yeah, you could say that I enjoy standing at attention and reciting the words. You would also be correct.
Personally, I believe that many of the simple problems that our nation faces have to do with a lack of belonging to—and respect for—the United States of America. There are so many little things that wouldn’t happen, if the people that lived here, appreciated it more. Again, that’s just my thoughts. I don’t recall the kinds of chaos that are rampant in the news, now, when I was young. Maybe times have radically changed. Maybe, it’s social media and the readily available access to so much more news than I had when I was young (only ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS). I don’t know.
Once, I noticed a friend of mine standing for, but not reciting, the pledge. When I asked her why, her response was, “I’m Canadian.” To which I asked, “Then why stand at all?” Her answer was simple, honest, and sincere, “Out of respect.” That was it. She understood what the whole thing was about, what it meant, and how to behave. My esteem and admiration for her shot through the roof. It made me reevaluate myself and how I should be toward other nations, their flags, and their oaths. I was truly humbled by the experience.
I feel pretty strongly about one’s allegiance to their nation—adopted or otherwise. My firm belief is that youth need direction. Sadly, many do not have that in their life. They sometimes wander and find it in the wrong places. Sometimes all a person needs is a simple belief, a direction. That direction could begin with knowing that you should align yourself with the country that you live in.
Originally, the pledge was written in the year 1892 with the intent for any country’s citizens to use. Later it was modified more specifically for the United States, and later still, changed again. I like the way it reads now: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” This says everything. That you will side with this country, its representational symbol (the flag), and its government. That you believe the country should be unified, with God as a guide, and that all should have liberty and freedoms. You can’t get much better than that.
One of my favorite things was to be on a military base when the flag went up in the morning and down at night. Once, while walking along the streets of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, the end of the day came. Everything stopped. Everything. Cars stopped. Pedestrians stopped. Anyone sitting, stood up (this included the three Marines getting a haircut in the barbershop behind me). We all faced the same direction—that of the American flag. We saluted or placed our hands on our hearts as it was lowered for the day. To witness so many stop everything just to salute the flag… That was also humbling.
I’m a patriotic fellow. Patriotism instilled by my family and my choices. Again, I am grateful that for whatever the reason was that my school district decided to have the Pledge of Allegiance every day. May God bless this nation and heal her.