Friday, December 28, 2012

Rant #872: The Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance has seemingly been around forever.

It certainly has been around for my entire life. I can remember reciting it in school every morning, putting my hand on my heart and saying it with the rest of my class.

It has been around forever, but Congress only officially recognized it on this date in 1945.

The Pledge has taken a beating during the past 40-odd years.

Where once it was recited with glee, since the Vietnam War era, many people look down on it as something that doesn't mean anything, something that is archaic.

I remember as a high schooler in the early to mid 1970s, in homeroom, when we were supposed to all stand and recite the pledge, about half the kids in the class not only wouldn't stand, but talked when others were reciting the pledge.

I always thought this was wrong. It demonstrated that these kids had no respect for the flag and our country, during a time when a lot of people equated patriotism with either supporting the war or being against it.

Also during this time, atheists and agnostics fought against the Pledge, because of the use of "God" in its verse.

"God" was added to the Pledge during the Eisenhower years in the 1950s, and it has spurred controversy since.

Some people claimed that the use of "God" went against their values, because they neither believed in God or religion, so they could not recite it, and some even tried to remove its recitation from our schools.

As a teacher in the early 1980s, I found that some people would not stand for the Pledge for religious reasons.

I had a girl in one of my classes who refused to stand when everyone else did. She told me she was a Jehovah's Witness, and she was not required to stand or recite the pledge. Her mother sent a note in to attest to this, so she sat--and talked through to anyone who would listen--while the Pledge was recited.

Through it all, the Pledge has somehow persevered.

Sure, there is a lot wrong with this country, and nobody says we are perfect.

But we are as close to perfect as any country is or can be.

We have freedoms here that most other countries can't even contemplate.

So, to say a couple of words to show our love for this country isn't such a big deal, is it?

"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."
What is the big deal about saying this?

I don't know.

People can say what they want, but for the liberties we enjoy, I don't see any reason to knock it, to deride it, to make fun of it.

The Pledge has proven its strength, and will live on way past our own lives.

It is that strong, and it represents a country which is the best in the world.

What's not to like?

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