Thursday, November 14, 2013

"I Pledge Allegiance To The Flag . . .

of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

Yes! That is the Pledge of Allegiance that most everyone I know in the United States grew up repeating everyday we attended public school. It may have also been part of the daily ritual of private schools as well. I don't know that since I always attended public schools.

So, why am I writing about it? Well, it's because I'm angry. No! I'm not angry at the Pledge. I'm angry at the Board of Education in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. If you haven't caught the news bite about the Sioux Falls Board of Ed determining that there is no time in the schedule to require the ten seconds it takes to repeat the Pledge, watch for it. It's one more little nail in the coffin of losing what the United States is all about.

No! I'm not some conspiracy theorist. And, I'm certainly not a big fan of government, especially when it interferes more and more with our personal freedom, privacy and lives. But, this is different. The Pledge of Allegiance is a ten second, 31-word recitation that bonds all Americans. It was composed in August 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and the chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education of the National Education Association. The Pledge was adopted and has been part of the American way of life ever since.

I see it as a real simple thing. We are very lucky to be Americans. It's not that we're the only free country in the world. As of 2013 there are 90 free countries and another 58 partly free countries. But, those 31 words and the ten measly seconds it takes to recite them is the one thing that binds American to American. They are simple words and they show respect for our country, our Constitution, our heritage and the legacy of bravery for the millions and millions of men and women who have fought, bled and died for our rights and our freedoms.

A group of veterans appealed to the Sioux Falls Board of Ed to not eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance from the high school daily schedule. Unfortunately, the adults who make up that Board of Education showed no respect for those men who served so the board members could have the right to show how little respect and regard they have for those who fought for them. They simply found that after 121 years, there just wasn't ten seconds left in the busy day of doing a poorer and poorer job of educating our next generations to say the Pledge and giver our future leaders a feeling of belonging to something great.

Well, maybe you don't care. Obviously, the people of Sioux Falls don't care. It makes me sad to think that my newly adopted home state has so little regard for our heritage. Between everything happening in Washington, DC and to see things like this happening simply indicate to me that we may have seen the peak of this experiment in freedom. There are even several counties in Colorado petitioning to secede from the state of Colorado and forming a fifty-first state. 

I am not very much of a traditionalist. But, having grown up in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and volunteering four years of my life to serve this country during what was probably the most unpopular war in the history of the country, I do hold that Pledge and saluting that flag dear. Maybe I'm just old fashioned. Maybe it's no longer politically correct to feel connected and have pride in the country that has provided me with a life and opportunities I likely would not have had in most other countries. But, this little issue just burns me up.

I guess this is one more reason for my choice to downsize, leave my old life behind and pursue a lifestyle of "living free." One of my objectives is to seek out those places in the U.S. where I may find pockets and remnants of those qualities and values I remember growing up with.

Sorry if this post may sound like a rant, but sometimes there are just things in the news that get to me. At least I'm not going off on Congress, the "so-called" Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) or any of the myriad issues in Washington, DC.    

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