To Those Citizens Who do Not Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance

By Leah Raymond (‘22)

Dear fellow Americans,

To all of you who refuse to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, to all of you who are too busy to rise, to all of you who just don’t care: it’s time to start caring.

I was asked a question about a year ago, and it has been on my mind ever since.  It must have made quite the mark as I am here writing about it.  I was in the hallway, when the morning PA announcement came on and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.  At that point, our teacher had not yet arrived to class, so all 30 of us were standing in the halls.  I didn’t have a flag to face as I recited the Pledge, so I just quietly put my hand over my heart and said the Pledge by myself.  Looking up as the words “with liberty and justice for all” left my mouth, I noticed that I’d caught the attention of a fellow student.

Turning to face me, they asked, “do you always say the Pledge of Allegiance?”  

I nodded.  

“Do you want to?”  

I said that of course I want to — no one is forcing me to say anything.  

Why?

“Why do you always say the Pledge of Allegiance?”

        To me, the question is why not to say the Pledge every day.  The simple answer is that I love my country, and I live with pride, and I will never forget the men and women who died for my freedom.  See, all gave some, and some gave all.  Some were able to survive the horrors of war, and others died for you and me.  (From Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Some Gave All“)  Saying and standing for the Pledge of Allegiance every single day is the very least that I can do to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and in all honesty, you who cannot bring yourself to say the Pledge lack the more than due respect for those who fight for you — the respect that our country was founded on.  Why do I always say the Pledge of Allegiance?  To honor the men and women who fought and fight selflessly for you and me.

“All gave some, some gave all”

-Billy Ray Cyrus

        When I say the Pledge of Allegiance, I am not pledging to always stand with the United States’ government.  In fact, I am not even saying that I agree with most of what the government is doing  — and the majority of people don’t.  What I am doing is pledging my loyalty to the nation that was founded on Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  When I say the Pledge of Allegiance, I am renewing the values that our country was built on: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America;” and “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness” (US Constitution, Declaration of Independence; emphasis added).

Every day, I pledge my loyalty to the country founded on Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness

        The Pledge of Allegiance is not me submitting myself to the President, instead, it is rejoicing in the reality that we have the privilege to elect a new President every four years and that we are not under the rule of one person until his death.  The Pledge of Allegiance is not me standing with the government, it is a promise to make the government better, and to uphold my duty to abolish it if it becomes destructive of its own nation.  The Pledge of Allegiance is not for me, nor my school; it is for all of the men and women who die for you and me and for their country.  It is a small gesture of appreciation for our country and those who keep it safe and free.

Dear fellow Americans,

It’s time to have pride in your country.

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