Should students stand for the pledge?


Luke Elkins and Elias Moura

Yes, it is a unifying factor for the country

The Pledge of Allegiance is said at every school across Virginia, according to state law. It’s a symbol of patriotism and respect while summarizing the points of what the U.S. stands for, in theory.

Many do not understand the importance of the pledge and the meaning behind it, so they question why they should stand. As an American, I believe it shouldn’t even be a debate whether or not we stand.

We stand for the flag in order to honor those who fight, who have fought and who have died to protect our freedom and safety. We stand for the pledge to focus on what unites us as Americans not divides us. We stand for the flag not to pledge allegiance to a president, but to honor the reality that we have an elected president and not a lifetime king.

When I look at America and the pledge, I also look at other countries such as Iran and North Korea. Oppressive countries like those that don’t allow anyone to publicly disrespect national symbols.

People that take these freedoms for granted are foolishly disrespecting what binds us together as Americans. Sitting during the pledge and kneeling for the anthem is not the correct time to protest racial injustice. The flag, pledge, and anthem stand for more than that, and some people fail to realize that.

Some of these people are like blind sheep following each other. There are reasons why some students don’t stand, but those are only a few intelligent students that think with reasoning. Most students are lazy and when asked why they don’t stand they reply with “I don’t know, I just don’t feel like it.”

Several Supreme Court decisions have codified that no one has to recite the pledge, let alone stand when it is recited. That is your right as a citizen. I agree with it being voluntary because a forced recital would be like something done in a Nazi society.

The act of sitting during a national unifying pledge to the country that grants you individual freedoms is not only stupid but it is also self-defeating and misdirected.

Then again, in most places, sitting and not standing is more of a statement about yourself than about America. You don’t come off as too smart, instead you come off as ignorant and ungrateful to the rights you are given.

No, students have freedom of speech

The United States of America is a free and democratic nation. There are no laws requiring students to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Therefore, students should not feel compelled to do something they do not want to do. Under the rules of a democracy, it is wrong to force someone to speak or do what they don’t want to do.

It’s important to note that students who don’t participate in the pledge aren’t doing so just because they are lazy or because they don’t care about the country. There are a multitude of reasons.

Many students see an issue with blindly professing an allegiance to a country. You should not have to pledge allegiance to a country that is doing things you do not agree with. For that reason, many students have chosen to not stand for the pledge because they disagree with the policies of the current president, Donald Trump.

Another reason students choose not to stand for the pledge is the phrase “One nation, under God.” One important element of freedom in the U.S. is freedom of religion. The U.S. may have a majority of people who are monotheistic, but that doesn’t mean that everyone believes we are united under one god. In fact, the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 by President Eisenhower. At the time, the Cold War was gaining steam, and Eisenhower was fighting communism across the globe. Back then, atheism was associated with communism, so he added “under God” to further separate the U.S. from the ideas of communism. But, this phrase just simply isn’t as relevant nowadays, and is the reason many students choose not to stand for the pledge.

Many students also find issue with the phrase “with liberty and justice for all.” Many feel America discriminates against race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, nationality, so on and so forth. The idea of pledging allegiance to a country that doesn’t support them is ridiculous to them.

Whatever the reason, students should not feel obligated to stand for the pledge. Even if a teacher claims it’s mandatory, the reality is, students can choose whether or not they want to stand for the pledge.