Every weekday morning, students all across the country rise to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school. We stand with our hats removed and hands across our hearts, chanting in unison the anthem ingrained in our minds since kindergarden.
Why do we do it? There is no law that says we have to, and no legal consequences if we don’t say it. But why does every student in America rise each morning and salute to the flag? We do it to honor our country; we pledge allegiance and demonstrate the honor and respect we have for those who sacrificed so that we can be here today. The pledge was adopted for people to show their support of our country in trying times. It unites us and serves as a reminder of what we stand for.
Many argue that the pledge should be optional in school. However, the pledge has a long and significant historical background; by choosing to not say it, students disrespect the flag, our country, and those who died for it. They neglect to honor those who came before them, those who truly fought for “liberty and justice for all”.
The main issue with the pledge is the “under God” phrase, because not every citizen believes in a God. This phrase has fallen under increased scrutiny as people begin to question America’s commitment to freedom of religion, as the mention of God in the Pledge seems to espouse a different national religious viewpoint.The opposition to one line (which was added as a revision in 1954) should not be an overpowering reason to sit during the pledge. Instead, those people should not say the one line, but should still stand and recite the remainder of the anthem. The Pledge of Allegiance has so much history and importance that it should not be disregarded because of one phrase.
More recently, with the actions of Colin Kaepernick each Sunday, people have another reason to question the Pledge. The 49ers’ quarterback kneels each week during the playing of the National Anthem because he “[is] not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” While the Star Spangled Banner differs from the Pledge of Allegiance, the same argument can be made. Kaepernick’s ideas have inspired many other NFL players to kneel during this patriotic time. By choosing to kneel, they suggest that there is no hope for our country to overcome and solve these issues. On the other hand, continuing to stand means that they accept their freedoms, including the right to protest and eventually do away with this injustice. The first step to standing together and being united is respecting and honoring our country with the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Pledge of Allegiance serves as a testament to American ideals, and its recitation in schools solidifies these values. By learning this tradition from a young age in school, we come together and gain pride in our country– pride that will stay with us forever as citizens of the United States of America.