Normally I would not write about a topic that seems to be quite controversial, but for the last week I’ve felt compelled to do so.
I was going through some pictures the other day and I came across what was then my three-year-old son standing with his right hand over his heart in front of the TV as the National Anthem was being played.
I remember this moment very well as he completely stopped what he was doing when he heard the Anthem start. I quick grabbed my phone to capture the moment and today it remains one of my favorite pictures of him.
My son being only three didn’t quite understand the purpose of what he was doing. He just knew it was something you do before an event. Being the son of a Superintendent (school official) he has been to countless events in which this is done. He didn’t know that the Flag represented so many amazing things that our country has to offer.
You see, when you stand at attention to respect the flag – you are respecting the many people that have risked their lives so that we can have the freedoms we have today. When you stand at attention to respect the flag you are honoring our great nation. You are saying thank you. You saying “America – you are beautiful.” You are remembering your loved ones, relatives, and friends that paid the ultimate sacrifice.
You are not saying that our nation doesn’t have problems. You are not saying that everyone that belongs to our nation is perfect. I don’t think anyone would argue with that. You are not saying that you disagree with an ideology or way of life that may or may not exist in America. You are not saying we are immune to hate crimes. You are not saying that sometimes you get upset at our government. You are not saying who you are voting for and who you are not voting for. You are not saying that you dislike a law or a mandate. You are not saying that America is problemless.
Standing or not standing at attention during the National Anthem is anyone’s right to choose. That right to choose though has come at the ultimate price that others sacrificed for you. But, you do have that right. It was given to you because you live here, and that is not so much the case in other countries.
I encourage everyone to live by Mohandas Gandhi’s quote, “be the change you want to see in the world.” I don’t want to see everyone sitting for the National Anthem. To me – not standing equals inaction. Inaction leads to no results. Be the change you want to see. Don’t let the actions of a few overshadow the service, courage and life of so many others.
I pledge allegiance to the flag and our great nation and apparently so does my three-year old son.
Do you pledge allegiance?