8:55am: The announcements begin and each person in the school is asked a simple courtesy — to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. It is a simple gesture that gives respect to the real superheroes out there fighting for our freedom. However, this simple gesture is easily forgotten and ignored.
When you stand for the Pledge each morning, all you are doing is giving your respect. You are silently acknowledging the fact that millions have fought, protested and given their lives prematurely to give you the right to choose whether standing for the Pledge is something you are going to do or not.
District 99 Superintendent Mark McDonald affirms that while you should stand for the Pledge, it is ultimately your choice.
“I think standing for the Pledge of Allegiance is a sign of respect. I have always done so when I have had the opportunity. [With] that said I realize that the constitution affords citizens the right not to say the pledge,” McDonald said.
Some may have grievances about the exact wording of the Pledge, saying that it encroaches upon the First Amendment that states, “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion.” But merely saying the phrase “under God” during the Pledge does not acknowledge or respect a single religious establishment.
God is, in fact, a very loose term. While Christians refer to the omnipotent power as God, the Jewish faith recognizes the entity as Yahweh just as the Islamic faith calls the being Allah. God is not a name, but a general term for a power beyond that of our own. Furthermore, it does not respect any one religion and therefore does not encroach upon the First Amendment.
This is akin to saying that, “one home, under mom,” is promoting the religion of the ideal American home. Both are just referred to as a overseeing power or something that gives us strength — which for 83.1% is true. According to a 2007 survey, 83.1% of U.S. adults affiliate themselves with either the Christian, Islamic or Jewish “God”.
This by no means implies that religious minorities don’t matter at all. Imagine a world where decisions are made based off pleasing everyone; nothing would get accomplished. We can’t appease everyone, but we can do our best to represent a majority of the population.
Math teacher Steve Trepachko believes that the youth of America is almost blind to the freedoms we have.
“They [students] just don’t get what kind of freedom they have here… in a foreign country where kids just don’t have the freedoms and don’t have opportunities like they do here. I think that might make them appreciate what we have here,” Steve Trepachko said.
What the students need to realize is that we are all blessed. Blessed to be able to go to school, blessed to be in a place where our opinions can be heard, and blessed to even have the opportunity to verbalize opinions on something as small as the Pledge of Allegiance.
There is no reason that is powerful enough to make a student refuse to stand for the Pledge.
Living in America is a privilege that many in this world are not lucky enough to have. It is because of this that whenever the Pledge is being recited in the morning, I truly believe the whole school should just stand, maybe not recite, but stand and recognize how lucky we all are to be parts of the American way of life.
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