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Pledge deserves to be respected, not muttered under breath

Cartoon+by+Thomas+Rousseau.
Cartoon by Thomas Rousseau.

Cartoon by Thomas Rousseau.

Cartoon by Thomas Rousseau.

Editorial Staff

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The next time the United States Pledge of Allegiance booms over the speakers during daily announcements, take a look at the classroom around you. Odds are, most of your peers are mumbling the pledge under their breath, if not completely silent.

 

There are plenty of possible reasons for this loss of fervor in saying the pledge that seems to come as we age. Students could be making a statement about how they feel towards their country; they may be uncomfortable putting their hand on their heart pledging allegiance at all, as the United States is one of the few countries that requires a daily pledge. However, the most common reason for Coppell High School students’ silence is indifference.

 

While the pledge is meant to be a patriotic act, reciting the same series of sounds every school morning for 13 years has desensitized us to the deeper implications of the pledge, which was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892. Before the addition of “the United States of America”, the pledge was written to apply to any country that adopted it.

 

Because of its monotony, students no longer give thought to the meaning of the words in the pledge and the context in which they were written. More often than not, we see it as an interruption to our day, not something associated with the patriotism. Contrast this with the national anthem, sung at sporting events and assemblies with more participation.

 

Deep thought is no longer given to the meaning of the words in the pledge and the context in which they were written. But these words stand for the fight it took to secure the rights we treasure so deeply in this country. Granted, the right to remain silent for the pledge is one of those rights.

 

The problem is, it often takes a national tragedy, such as 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombings, to shake us awake and make us say the pledge with purpose. Patriotism should not only come out when the country is in crisis; truly caring about this nation means having the same level of reverence for the flag and the pledge on any given day.

 

That being said, patriotism is not equivalent to blind, unconditional acceptance. You do not have to love every part in America’s past or present to love the country as a whole and respect the people who have worked hard within its borders and overseas.

 

At the end of the day, we need to step back and consider what this country means to us. To some, that definition may not be pretty, and that’s valid. If you make a conscious choice not to stand or speak the pledge for a personal reason, that’s OK and this country will still protect you.

 

The apathy, though, towards the 29 words that we recite each day, should be remedied.

 

A way to fix this problem at the state level could be reducing the number of times we say the pledge to once a week or even once a month. Making the recitation of these words less of a routine and more of a special event might allow students the attach more meaning to the words and participate more, as is the case with the national anthem.

 

As the next generation of American adults, it is up to us to define what patriotism looks like in our eyes. Whether or not you feel that this country has been good to you, reciting the pledge should be something that you consciously think about, not something softly muttered with indifference.

Cartoon by Thomas Rousseau.

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The student news site of Coppell High School
Pledge deserves to be respected, not muttered under breath