Five days a week, students across the nation promise their unity and support for the country we live in. For us, it’s at the beginning of second period when announcement starts. The beep from the overhead speakers signals students to stand up from their desks, place their right hand over their heart, and recite the words they’ve known since kindergarten. For most students, this has become part of our daily school routine. We’ve pledged the flag since we were five years old and grew up thinking it was an obligation. But what does it mean to pledge the flag?
Let’s break it down. A pledge is “a solemn promise or agreement to do or refrain from doing something” and allegiance is “loyalty of a citizen to his or her government” according to Dictionary.com. Students from a very young age have promised their loyalty to the flag, which symbolizes our country. Boys and girls have started to pledge themselves to a government that they don’t know or understand at that age. Why has this action become a tradition for over a century and used by schools across the nation?
Many sources claim that the Pledge of Allegiance engrains patriotism in children from a young age, so it can be carried throughout adulthood. Pledging can also act as a remainder of the country’s winning fight for independence and of the freedom and independence America have. Not only this, but the pledge has been used for generations, therefore people mainly leave the tradition of pledging the flag.
But this tradition has had some controversy over the years. In the 1954, the words “under God” was added to the pledge, causing many to disagree and call for a secular pledge, which could be used by anyone of any religion. Also, recently, many people have taken the pledge and its meaning into consideration and deciding to stop pledging due to disagreement with our country, thus ending their allegiance. For some, it’s an act of disobedience and dissent for our country, a call for reform and change. For others, they simply don’t understand the meaning of the pledge or don’t care enough to do it.
There has never been a law stating that students are obligated to rise and pledge allegiance. It is solely up to the student and no one, even staff and teachers, can stop them. From here on now, be conscious of your actions and who you give your word to. You can view this daily act as a tribute to your country’s history, or as a deliberate choice of whether to pledge or not. Either way, you have the power to choose. You don’t have to stick to the agenda of the announcements. Decide for yourself what the pledge of allegiance means to you and whether you stand for it or not.