By: Keon Morley
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…”
These words have been carved into our minds since we were children. The Pledge of Allegiance was written over 100 years ago and, seeing as we are an evolving race, it shows values that may not be as important to us today. Many believe the true meaning of our pledge is to respect the soldiers who fought for our freedom. But, is it still relevant for everyone to stand and speak the pledge every morning? I have spoken to a few people to get their opinion on this controversial topic.
Amy Nicefaro is a senior in high school and she had a very mature way of answering my questions. Ms. Nicefaro has many relatives who were enlisted in war. She stated, “It’s my civic duty to stand for it.” She believes that the pledge honors those who have sacrificed their lives so we can be free. Respecting our flag by respecting our pledge is something everyone should do, in her opinion. When asked about why people choose not to stand she said that people have different beliefs and some do not believe in God. Nicefaro says that overall, people need to respect our county and the pledge is one way to do so.
Gabriella Riccio, a freshman in high school, shares similar beliefs. She says that standing for the pledge is to stand for the rights we now have. However, when asked if it should be mandatory for everyone to stand she said, “No, because I feel that if you don’t believe you are granted the rights everyone is entitled to then I don’t see why you would.” She believes everyone has their own way of “pledging” their allegiance to our country. She also believed that the pledge is not a reference to religion and that “god” is more of a relative word.
I then talked to Brie Hall who is very passionate about her views on the pledge. She says that when she thinks of the pledge she thinks back to when it was created and America had a dominant race. African Americans were segregated from everyone else and she does not want to pledge her allegiance to that. She stated, “We have progressed but we still aren’t there.” She says it is not disrespectful to sit during the pledge because you do not have to do anything you are not 100% confident in. To her, people have different outlooks on how they interpret the pledge, but you should not have to stand if you do not think you rights are granted to you. Finally, she believes that the people who are pledging do not truly know the meaning of it. When I asked Hall about the religion aspect of the pledge, she said that they are not talking about one certain god. You mentally pledge to your god, but we are really pledging to our flag, which is just a physical object. In all, Brie Hall thinks that standing for the pledge should be optional because everyone has different views on this country.
Lily Lagoy is a high schooler in California and she took a different approach to answering my questions. In regarding to why she stands she says, “I do it so I’m not feeling left out.” She says that the pledge is meaningless because we say it everyday and that the reason most people stand is because of peer pressure. Lagoy also said that she believes people only sit to get attention.
Everyone I have talked to had their own opinions on the pledge, but they all seemed to have one thing in common; how we can become more united. Besides the pledge every person said we need to communicate and have a serious conversation, face-to-face, no arguing or talking over each other. We need to understand each other and know that we all come from different backgrounds… but that should not weaken us. It should be our greatest strength. Most said that since the pledge is repeated every single day, people do not realize the importance of it. It needs to be used less often so when we do say it, it is more significant.
Being able to talk to not only people in our school, but people around the nation, creates such an eye-opening discovery to me. We are all so different, but our similarities make us stronger. Maybe our pledge is outdated, and we need a new approach to unification, but nothing will improve if you stay silent. What does the Pledge of Allegiance mean to you?