Why We Stand

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Why We Stand

Walker Lloyd and Autumn Hiller, Staff Writer and Editor-in-Chief

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     What does the flag stand for? What should we, as Americans, stand for? The thing about America is that it doesn’t have one identity. Therefore our flag shouldn’t have just one meaning behind it. It stands for the men and women who give their lives for our country. It stands for hope for those who came here for a new and better life. It stands for a promise to make our country and our world better every day. Therefore, I stand for the flag every morning. 

     The main focus of the pledge is not to sign over your life in order to protect our flag.  That’s what the military is for. Some students even consider it cultish or “something North Korean children would be doing.” In my opinion, its main point is to encourage respect and pride in the country we live in. Yes, our country is divided and it has its fair share of problems, but if anything, the pledge has even more relevance now. It is a pledge to make our country the best it can be, made by millions of people who want a better tomorrow for themselves and for their countrymen. Everyone who attends marches, protests, walkouts, etc. is taking an active role in social change. They are standing up for their beliefs, fighting the problems that our country faces and for many, this is the highest form of patriotism: not blindly waving a flag, but promising that your country, our country, will be better because of you. 

     Many students “don’t believe in God” and there is nothing wrong with that, but I believe that our feelings about religion should be kept separate from our feelings for our country, even when the pledge fails to do so. Our country was founded on religious tolerance, and as America has grown so has its religious diversity. The phrase, “…one nation, under God,” is outdated and doesn’t accurately represent the religious makeup of our nation. But I don’t think that this one line should diminish the argument of using our liberty and freedom to make America a better place. 

     In an unsurprising student survey, the majority (around 75%) said that they remained seated during the pledge. Some said that it just didn’t mean enough to them to bother standing up in the morning, some disagreed with the allusion to religion, and some simply had a disagreement with the content. Those who did stand did so for pride in their country, and in the brave men and women who have served and died for our country, for us, and for our rights. That includes our right to choose whether or not to stand for the pledge. The moment of silence was less controversial. Most students recognized that it was an opportunity to remember the fallen, to pray, or just to take a few breaths before another day at school. 

     America was founded on the principle of freedom. You have the freedom to stand or sit, speak or remain silent, to accept America for what it is or to strive to make it better. I choose to stand for the pledge every day. I stay quiet for the moment of silence. And I think everyone should do the same, or at the very least understand why I do.