Should We Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance?


Jacopo Congiu-Hughes

Pictured is an American flag hanging in room E133.

Jacopo Congiu-Hughes, Staff Writer

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Whether you’re a student or a teacher at State High, you probably recite the same 31 words every morning at 8:40. But what do these words mean, and why do we recite them daily? Should we even say the pledge at all?

While some people may think that the Pledge of Allegiance has been around since the start of our country, like the national anthem, it is actually a relatively recent invention. The first version of the pledge was penned by Francis Bellamy, a socialist minister, in 1892, as an initiative to sell more flags. It read “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” making no mention of God or the United States. 

The United States part was added in the 1920s, and the pledge was adopted by Congress in 1942. The addition of “under God,” perhaps the most controversial part, didn’t happen until 1954, during the Cold War, when America wanted to distinguish itself from the atheist Soviet Union. The pledge has remained unchanged since 1954.

Although no student is forced to say the pledge, some think that this tradition should not be in schools at all. One State High student, who prefers to remain anonymous, said that they don’t stand because they’re “not treated in America as equal to cishet [cisgender heterosexual] people. This country doesn’t like me.”

This is a common theme among people who refuse to stand, as some feel America doesn’t deserve that respect because it treats them or others without respect. The student also said they don’t stand for “religious reasons.” This is common among others who don’t say the pledge, due to the words “under God”, which may conflict with some people’s religion or lack of one.

The main reason some people don’t stand for or recite the pledge is typically that they believe that America does not provide “liberty and justice for all,” as it states. They refuse to say the pledge as a form of protest against whatever systemic injustice that they stand against. Refusing to stand for or say the pledge has been used to protest wars, racism, sexism, and many other systemic injustices that people stand against. Another reason people don’t say the pledge is a religious reason. Atheists and polytheists (those who believe in multiple gods) object to the “under God” part of the pledge, as they don’t recognize one god. Also, some Christian sects like Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot pledge their allegiance to anything besides God, and thus do not say the pledge.

Some students, however, believe that everyone should say the pledge. Sophomore Maxwell Wager stands and recites the pledge every morning. He encourages others to do so too. 

“I think it should be up to personal decision. I would encourage and I think it gives thanks for the freedoms we have, but on the other hand, you can’t force anyone into it,” Wager said.

These sentiments are a common theme for those who stand for the pledge. They believe that America, although it may have flaws, is a good country and requires respect. Many people also say the pledge out of respect to American soldiers who have fought in the many wars America has been in.

Although opinions are split about whether people should stand for the pledge or not, it is good to have civilized discussions and listen to the other side.