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PUBLISHED: 2:58 PM on Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The Pledge of Allegiance
Students should stand while reciting the pledge. Did you know that refusing to stand or recite the pledge isn't illegal? Not that it should be illegal, but some children and adults don't stand.

For the schools that recite the pledge most of the time everyone stands and recites the pledge. Others just sit or stand, but standing shows a lot more respect. Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, wrote the original pledge in August 1892. The pledge was published in the September 8th issue of The Youth's Companion. In 1954, Congress, after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the phrase "under God" to the pledge. The phrase was added in a law signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Today across the country students still recite the pledge. Students should stand during the pledge to show respect to soldiers who fought for our rights and our flag. "When I was in the army, I would look at the flag and I would think about all the times I would recite the pledge while standing, and I did it for my family and country I was fighting for. Now I think about all the friends I lost for what we have today. I don't regret ever reciting the pledge in the war."

A Vietnam soldier who respects the flag and its meanings told me this. According to the U.S. flag code you must recite the pledge while standing at attention, with the right hand over the heart. Military personnel must salute. People are also required to remove their hats and hold the hat to the left shoulder; their right hand will be over their heart. Soldiers should not be the only ones showing this respect; regular citizens should too. The phrase "under God" offends children and adults because it can be against their religion. In 2002 a California man named Dr. Michael Newdow sued the federal and state governments and his daughter's local school board because the phrase "under God" offended him. The federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional last June because it violated the separation of church and state; the ruling let off angry protests across the nation. A priest said there is "a fundamental factual distinction between a pledge and a prayer."

A prayer is communication between an individual and God. A pledge is a promise of loyalty to a nation or other institution. By this it tells you what a prayer is and about what the pledge means. This is why students don't recite or stand. They don't agree with the words they are required to say. If children and adults are offended by the words the pledge holds they are not being told to say the pledge but to stand. Even though the pledge has changed, it still means a lot. The flag and the pledge reminds us that we need to be grateful for what we have, and if people didn't fight for our rights and our flag, we probably wouldn't have some things we have today.

Student Kristine Bernaldo said, " The pledge reminds me of all the different things people did for us and fight for the flag." The pledge is a big part of the world and everyone should be able to respect it and its meanings. Students should be required to stand during the pledge.

The flag and the pledge are very important to many people around the world. From the information I have collected, there are many different positions and opinions held both for and against the pledge.

The council that changed the wording of the pledge should have considered the fact that we have the constitutional right of free speech, and anyone secure in their own beliefs should not feel threatened by the phrase "under God." Above all, although students have a right not to say the pledge, they should be required to stand for it.


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