Being a school teacher, the Pledge of Allegiance isn’t just something that I left behind in grade school or that I say every now and then at a special event. It’s an everyday thing. It’s a stop what you’re doing, stand, and say it with conviction kind of thing.
When I taught out in California, in a non-military community, it was a struggle to get people to stand and say the pledge. In a class of ten to fifteen kids, I was lucky to get one kid to say the pledge. With some, it would be a struggle to get them out of their chairs or to keep them from sitting down early. As a military wife, I feel like you need to at least stand. That’s one of my non-negotiables. You may choose not to say it, but you at least need to stand out of respect for all of those who have put our country first and themselves second. Back in those days, I remember loving my HOG (Harley Owners Group) meetings because we started every meeting with the pledge and everyone recited it. I love hearing it from a crowd of voices, and with enthusiasm!
Things got a little better in North Carolina, where half of my students were military. A lot more students (willingly) said the pledge, and if they needed a reminder why at least a third of the class had a deployed parent. My current school is approximately 70% military, but I start my day with a prep period, so I don’t have any students with me when I pledge, just coworkers. When they jump on the loudspeaker, I stop what I’m doing and stand. Most tend to follow my lead, although I think I’m the only one who actually says it on a consistent basis. That’s ok, I’m used to being the only one to say it. I do it for my husband, I do it for our veterans, I do it for those who are currently serving our country, both abroad and at home.
I was down in the office today, where they recite the pledge over our loudspeaker. I found the same results – a meeting room of four adults, all going about their business. Another woman next to me stood but didn’t recite it. I can understand why the woman near the phone doesn’t say it (for the sake of feedback), but everyone else?
Why don’t these adults say the pledge? Why do I feel like the dying breed? I’ve heard that a growing number of people aren’t saying it out of protest for those who don’t have equal rights in our country, but everyone else? What’s their reason?
Am I alone here? What’s everyone else’s experience?