The year after Kent State (which was about 40 miles from my house) I was in 6th grade and a group of us refused to rise for or say the Pledge of Allegience on the basis that the US did not have “liberty and justice for all” and that we would not pledge allegiance to a rogue nation state which itself did not obey the laws of war or tell the truth to its people.
It was agreed with the school officials that we would stand respectfully and silently but would not have to say anything or make any worshipful gesture. And so it was for the rest of 6th grade. I wore black or white with red speckles arm bands to school most days that year (which my Mom helped me to make and safety-pinned onto my shirt). But I was also a safety patrol kid and put up and took down the flag and folded it properly and treated it with respect.
Americans each have a complex relationship with the flag and other national symbols. They have every right to express, or not to express their sentiments, without being accused of being unpatriotic or disloyal. We have the right to salute the flag, and we have the right to burn it. That is what freedom is.
Copyright © 2012 Henry Edward Hardy
No comments yet.