“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
Each school day we begin our lessons with a recitation of this pledge and the pledge to the Bible. The other day I was struck with the realization that these are more than just words I am repeating; this is a promise I am making and teaching my children to make. What exactly does this promise mean?
Pledging allegiance means promising loyalty. In this case I am promising loyalty to all the flag of our country represents. It represents a republic where the citizens govern. It represents a nation under God, which means that religious liberty is foundational to who we are and how we live as a people. It flies over a union, declaring that we the people must work together and communicate through our differences in order to prosper. Our flag is a symbol of liberty and justice for all: every beating heart and living soul in this country. This is to what I am promising loyalty. How do I keep this promise?
In light of current events both personally and nationally, I feel more sorrow than pride when I gaze upon the Stars and Stripes. I am struck with all that once was good and great about our land and how much honor has been discarded. It is difficult to be patriotic when injustice and shame fill the headlines on a daily basis. Or is it? Perhaps this a time when, more than ever before, patriotism is needed.
Perhaps a time such as this is exactly why we pledge allegiance. It’s not merely for the times of prosperity and national pride; it is for the times when evil appears to have the upper hand. In this tick mark on the timeline, we who love our country must exercise our constitutional rights, speak up for the voiceless, and be vibrant citizens. How?
- Build friendships with our neighbors
- Care about our communities by keeping them clean and assisting those in need.
- Teach our children about our history, both the honorable and shameful aspects, so they can form their own thoughts about the future.
- Speak up in local politics
- Be informed about what’s happening in our government but don’t depend on mainstream media. Find news sources that strive to be objective.
- Read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Many things that claim to be law are not. Many who claim to have power do not.
- Be bold no matter what. A conviction isn’t worth having unless you are ready to sacrifice for it.
- Fly the flag
Pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America means that when everyone else is trampling upon this symbol of freedom, I will pick it up and wave it high. Will you?