Emma Frey, @_emmafrey_
Every day we begin school with a moment of silence and the pledge of allegiance. Everyone stands, and places their right hand on their heart. We then recite the words that pledge our loyalty to the greatest country on earth.
This is a giant waste of time.
First of all, I should make it clear that I don’t hate America. The pledge of allegiance was written in 1892 by a minister named Francis Bellamy. He originally hoped that the pledge could be used by any citizen in any country, but this was not how things played out. The words were changed in 1923 to be specific to the United States.
Now, in the present day, America is the only country to say its pledge daily besides North Korea. Not a great look for us.
The sentiment behind the pledge of allegiance is very strong. It is a symbol of loyalty to your country, and therefore carries importance. But, do we really need to say it daily in order to have loyalty to America?
The pledge of allegiance is something that many Americans have said almost every day since kindergarten. In many states, including Kansas, law requires it to be said in schools every day. The purpose of this, presumably, is to reinforce the ideals stated in the pledge over and over again. The idea is to increase student’s patriotism, but this routine can begin to do the opposite.
When something is done daily, no matter what it is, it can lose importance over time. Not everyone says the pledge everyday anyway — lots of people just stand for it. You don’t have to say the pledge every day to mean it or to be loyal to your country. The words have meaning, but being said every day they just become something we say without paying attention to the words or with a second thought.
The pledge, while being an important part of what it means to be American, should not be required to be said by students every day. There are better ways to use our time in school than this. But the pledge doesn’t need to be meaningless, it could be important.
The pledge should be reserved for special events like graduation or prior to voting when we have a reason to reflect on our patriotism, it doesn’t need to be a daily occurrence. Things like wedding vows and confirmations are not restated daily. They are significant because they happen at important times.
If the pledge was reserved for special occasions like other events, it would be more meaningful and people would stand with pride for their country and truly mean the words that were said.