Daniel Pearl Magnet High School

From a teen’s perspective: ‘I stand because I have hope for what we can do as a country.’

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…”

These 12 words, recited so patriotically for previous centuries, have now become synonymous with the contentious political climate of today. To me, this is where the real issue stems from. The Pledge of Allegiance is a declaration in support of liberty.

That is, the freedom of equal opportunity, not the equality of outcome.

Last year, about half the class reluctantly stood for the pledge while the remaining half snickered on with disgust. Today, those students, now narrowed down to a mere two, leap to their feet and faithfully reassert their respect for the country. Tomorrow, I will once again stand tall, unashamed, and honor America.

Regardless of race, class and creed, individuals residing in this country have opportunities and choices. Opportunities and choices that would not be so if not for countless deaths that were sacrificed to ensure our future.

I recognize that there are legitimate claims that directly contradict my own– a freedom we enjoy as a result our predecessor’s sweat, blood and tears but the fact that we students are even granted the power of choice in this matter is precisely why we should all honor the pledge.

“Why should I stand for a country that doesn’t support my rights?” argues Daniel Pearl Magnet freshman Lou Pendergrass, who doesn’t stand for the pledge.

And I answer, the concept of respecting the pledge should not be looked at in terms of black and white. Buried beneath the abundance of debates, defiant actions and political correctness, there is a need for unity, especially in the tumultuous political climate we experience daily.

As former President John F. Kennedy once wisely preached, “United there is little we cannot do. Divided there is little we can do.”

“I stand and say the pledge because I respect the country and I think that everybody is losing faith right now so I stand as a sign of hope,” junior Tabitha Quiroz said.

Yes, individuals are oppressed, sometimes through no fault of their own. However at the same time, there are so many privileges, as represented through our Constitution that are granted simply by living in America. It’s more than clear that our country is not without its faults yet the only way to improve is to acknowledge, honor and protect what is just about America.

To those individuals who refuse to stand because they disagree with the principles of America, then stand and pay homage to what you believe America should be.

Then, as the last echoes of the morning pledge recede, go back to debating for change influenced by that promised foundation of our American flag.

“Students have a responsibility to honor the nation through the Pledge of Allegiance,” biology teacher Jim Morrison said.