You hear the old-school patriots bemoaning the fact that the Pledge of Allegiance is no longer recited in school. They should come to Shawano and see the holes in their argument.
This morning, I walked outside to start up my car and allow it to warm up before heading to work. I always bring my dog, Toby, out for one last nature break before I leave, and as I waited for him to take care of business, I could hear the loudspeakers at the nearby elementary school blaring the morning announcements. It took me a bit by surprise, as Shawano tends to be fairly quiet during the early morning hours, but I listened anyway instead of stepping back inside.
Just sixty seconds after I took notice, I heard a disjointed chorus of students saying, “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.”
I just stood and listened; my dog could care less. However, it was a sign that, despite these changing times, some traditions are still carried out.
You might not necessarily join in when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, and you have that right. However, the folks that claim patriotism is being pushed out of schools should realize that blanket arguments only serve to divide and anger, not unite. The pledge is still alive and well in some schools.
I definitely believe the pledge should remain in schools. It should not go away. I don’t believe you should be required to recite it, as I believe it should be your choice to recite anything, just like it is your choice when and where you decide to pray, as well as whether you pray or not. Patriotism isn’t something that should be forced, but at the same time, it shouldn’t be shunned either.
With spring just around the corner and temperatures really warming up next week, I might just step outside in the mornings just to hear the pledge. It’s certainly better sounding than listening to the latest sound bites on the morning news shows about the presidential candidates and the bile they’re spreading.
That is for another column.