06/02/05 — A vital pledge: Daily recitation offers essential reminders

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A vital pledge: Daily recitation offers essential reminders

It might seem like a small thing, asking students to recite the pledge to the American flag every morning in North Carolina schools.

In fact, some people might not even know that it is not already part of the morning ritual. It used to be in many classrooms across the country not so many years ago.

The North Carolina Senate’s proposal to require the recitation as well as the displaying of North Carolina and American flags at North Carolina schools is a great way to help remind the state’s students that there is a history of sacrifice and courage that is the foundation for the freedoms they enjoy today.

Reminding young people that there were men and women — and in some cases children — who fought incredible odds to raise a flag over this country in Colonial America is not only an essential part of their education as students, but also as American citizens. And it never hurts to remind anyone how many times blood has been shed in defense of the flag that flies so proudly over this country. It makes you appreciate your freedom just a little bit more.

Many of us express amazement when we hear how many children do not have a basic understanding of politics or world events. We wonder how a child could graduate from high school and not really understand how his or her government works. And then we start the lament that seems to go along with every change in generation: “Don’t these kids care about anything these days?”

One of the most important gifts we can give our children is a sense of history, an understanding that they stand on the shoulders of generations of people who fought for their principles and stood for what was right, sometimes against incredible odds. Asking students to recite the pledge daily might not give them a full comprehension of the sacrifices that have been made for them, but if it even starts them thinking for a minute about honor, heritage and responsibility, it is worth the time spent.

This proposal will probably spark a few protests and maybe even a lawsuit or two.

And we should listen to the arguments. That is what freedom of speech is all about.

But in the end, this is a proposal that is long overdue, and one that North Carolinians need to support with their hats off and hands on their hearts.

Published in Editorials on June 2, 2005 10:33 AM