Each day, a classroom full of kids is set to start their school day. It’s early in the morning and their class is about to start as the loud speaker comes on, directing all students to stand and face the flag with their hand over their heart. There’s a thirty second movement of monotone voices that fills the room as all the students do as they were told and mumble through this habitual morning greeting, the Pledge of Allegiance.
Meanwhile, in Texas, a high school student sits while the rest of her class stands and says the Pledge. She then listens to her teacher compare her to a communist in front of her classmates.
In Illinois, the state law says, “The Pledge of Allegiance shall be recited each school day by pupils in elementary and secondary educational institutions supported or maintained in whole or in part by public funds.” The language of the law might suggest to the reader that one is required to stand and recite the Pledge each day in school, but a message from the Governor to the General Assembly at the time of a 2002 amendment to the statute suggests otherwise. It is required by law in over forty states that recitation of the Pledge is required. This has brought up myriad controversial moments around the nation, especially with increasingly more people straying from the conventional religious affiliations.
The “under God,” written in the Pledge of Allegiance was added to the Pledge in 1954 and signified that this nation was held by the higher power of God instead of signifying that the Government was in charge. In addition to religious affiliations, the Pledge also reads, “with liberty and justice for all.” The high schooler from Texas who argued that she was not going to stand for the pledge would argue if there is really liberty and justice for all.
The vast majority of students at Lake Forest High School and many other high schools feel the Pledge of Allegiance is simply a habit they have carried since elementary school. For most teenagers, there is no argument as to why they still have to say these words each morning in accordance with their classmates; standing and facing the flag, their right hand covering their hearts, repeating the same thing their parents did years ago, softly alluding to the image of a communist society.
The unimportance of the Pledge of Allegiance should be concerning to the leaders of this nation. Yes, students are reciting it, but what does that matter if they barely know what they are saying, let alone care? With the incredible change in societies around the world–many, in fact, becoming more open to differences–you would think the Pledge would bring up a bigger commotion and the whole idea of our nation’s children reciting it each morning.
All in all, the Pledge of Allegiance is the words that bond our country and what brings us together as a unbreakable force. The whole nation, if they choose to participate, must be able to recite these words with pride for their country instead of with the lack of emotion that has us questioning the importance of the Pledge. The careless mumbling of the Pledge must stop and we must make known the importance of these words. If you don’t agree with the recitation of the Pledge, by all means, stand up for your rights by sitting down during the Pledge; disregard your classmates who question your objectives. We all have the right to decide what we will stand up for, but in my opinion, our country is worth it.