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The Pledge of Allegiance and our educational institutions
The Pledge of Allegiance has been and is a basic part of the heritage of our country. It is important at this juncture in our country and the changes taking place in several state educational systems to understand the meaning of the words. Below are the words of the pledge and the explanation or significance as identified on a West Virginia US Court website. The significance of the phrases as identified are powerful and displays how important it is and the impact it has had on our country.
“I Pledge allegiance” (I promise to be true)
“to the flag” (to the symbol of our country)
“of the United States of America” (each state that has joined to make our country)
“and to the republic” (a republic is a country where the people choose others to make laws for them—the government is “of, by and for” the people)
“for which it stands” (the flag means the country)
“one nation”(a single country)
“under God” (the people believe in a supreme being)
“indivisible” (the country cannot be split into parts)
“with liberty and justice” (with freedom and fairness)
“for all” (for each person in the country…you and me)
The explanation and significance of these words cannot be denied. It is inconceivable that many of our educational institutions have moved away from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance which has prompted action by state legislatures to take recent action. The latest action by several states has created a requirement for educational institutions within their state to establish opportunities to recite this pledge. This movement is one which should be welcomed and is welcomed by many individuals but groups are raising concern about a requirement for educational institutions to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. This pledge has been a part of our country for many years but like anything else if someone or some group feels something needs to be changed they fight for the change. It does not matter whether an activity has been in place or not. The Pledge of Allegiance is an important aspect of our culture and should be recited in our school system and other public places.
Recent activity as previously noted gives the appearance that a new movement toward reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is taking hold. Legislation in several states around the country has made it a requirement that school systems have a time established to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. While some states have already put this requirement in place others are considering such action. Many changes have taken place over the years in our educational systems not only within individual states but nationally. Some groups have a problem with the words under God in the pledge and are bringing court cases to change requirements for reciting the pledge with these words. This however has not deterred state legislatures from creating a requirement for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. In some cases the requirement is daily while in others it is less frequent.
We in this country have come to the point where a minority can impact a majority opinion. It is something that has seen increased activity. The words of the Pledge of Allegiance are significant in the development of our country. Some concerns raised have been about individuals reciting the pledge that are not citizens of our country as it may affect their loyalty to their native country. While this may be a concern that individuals who have come to this country and are not visitors should recite this pledge. To some the Pledge of Allegiance may only be words but given the significance of the individual phrases identified above it is hoped this movement will become stronger. The Pledge of Allegiance is not just words but it is part of our history. Another concern is the phrase under God. The only individuals who should be concerned about this phrase are the atheists. The phrase under God is recognition of a supreme being not a specific religion. There is only one God and it does not matter what religion an individual finds themselves associated it is still a supreme being. Whether an individual believes in a supreme being or not students in any educational institution should be given the opportunity to recite this pledge.
One important point to make is that in most cases if not all this opportunity is not mandatory. While there may be and has been some issues surrounding individuals choosing not to recite the pledge it should not prevent others to do so. In addition to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance there needs to be a requirement in our educational institutions to provide the history of the pledge in their curriculum so the significance is understood by all. Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is also representative of honoring those individuals who have served and are serving our country. This especially involves those individuals who have lost their lives in such decisions.
Having disagreement with actions of state legislatures and even Congress is not the problem as it is our right in this country to have a difference of opinion. This is what is called free speech as identified in the Constitution. Other countries have what they call a pledge of allegiance and the question remains why is that activity acceptable in a foreign land but we have to battle even reciting our own pledge of allegiance in public places to honor our military.
The Pledge of Allegiance and the efforts to change the words that individuals recite should be vigorously fought within our court system. It is hoped where cases have been brought that our court system will uphold the right of individuals to recite this pledge when the opportunity presents itself. It is also hoped that if education institutions provide some information as to the significance of the pledge that individuals may choose to recite it rather than choosing not to participate.