Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why I don't say the Pledge of Allegiance

I am not un-American nor. I am patriotic. I'm just not one who says the pledge aloud. It also doesn't mean I don't respect service men. I do respect them and I do think we need them for our survival and protection, and I am thankful there are men and women who lay doe their lives for my freedoms.

When the pledge is said I do stand, I do face the flag, and I do take my hat off if I'm wearing one. I'm quiet and respectful. I stand at "parade rest" while it's being recited. I just don't say it.

I don't like being told to be patriotic on command (and it has nothing to do with the line "One nation under God..." either!). I'm not sure if I can make this make sense. Every single day, before the announcements, we make the kids stand, face the flag, place their hands on their hearts, and say it. It becomes so mote, such a habit that it seems to lose its significance and importance. The kids look bored, roll their eyes, just stand and you can see that they are about a million miles away, and not thinking of the importance of their country.

Now, on Patriot Day, Sept. 11, when the announcements came on and we were asked to stand for the pledge, we also were told what Patriot Day was and he read a story from 9-11 over the PA. By the time he was done, tears were rolling down my face and I said the Pledge. It did mean something to me that day.

I know it should mean something to me every single day. I do know. I really do.

Maybe it's because I'm in a school setting and the Pledge is squeezed between the daily silent reading and the sports announcements. And I'm charged with MAKING kids be quiet, to stand, to not talk, to not mess around, to not pick their noses... you get my drift. No other work place, other than maybe military or government related places and I'm guessing here, makes you stand and say the Pledge.

I also don't like being told to pray, for example. I don't like ritualistic recitation at public events.

I guess this was on my mind today because it just seems like saying the Pledge in a public high school is forced on the kids, like so many other things. And today as I watched the kids during "pledge" time I was disappointed that they didn't care. It was meaningless to them.

I do not want to participate in a public ritualistic recitation when it means nothing to me, only because I'm told it's 9:50am and time to day it. I want to say it because it means something to me. While I understand it SHOULD mean something to me each day, and in my heart of hearts, I don't feel the need to say it unless I want to do so.

And it should mean something.



Mellodee said...

Show them this, it says something we all need to hear.

(Sorry, when it comes to linking to this, I don't know how to do anything but cut and paste!)

Curley said...

I do understand where you are coming from. I also can see why the kids are bored with it and roll their eyes or fidget. They are teenagers. But if we didn't have the kids stand up and say the pledge everyday in school starting from kindergarten, how many of them would actually know how to recite the pledge by the time they hit high school?

Jimmie Earl said...

Though I agree in theory, I am of a different generation, so I like the pledge. I like the "Star Spangled Banner", too. Recently I was privileged to attend a Texas Rangers ball game. When everyone stood for the National Anthem, hats came off, hands went over hearts, and people sang. I was not the only one who was moved to tears. I recalled all my friends who lost their lives in Vietnam, and my uncle who fought in WWII. I think that saying the pledge is a privilege. One we might lose if people lose the patriotism that has made this country great. It doesn't hurt to remind the kids in school just how lucky they really are to live in our country.
I think it should be part of the Social Studies/History department to drive some of these points home, so when the kids say the pledge, they may just feel something. Do we really need to spend so much time teaching ancient history in Middle School? Why not teach the kids something that will make them proud to be an American!


Wiley said...

I spent six months at school in the US and I still remember the pledge of allegiance off by heart. It makes me stop and reflect now I'm emigrating and now I'm a part of the big US military family. But I can hear where you come from - we take an awful lot for granted most days.