The other day I had the opportunity to hear the morning announcements at a local high school. Over the speaker came, "Please rise for the pledge to the flag." After a moment's silence, the voice started, "I pledge allegiance to the flag" followed by a few more seconds of silence, and then, "You may be seated." The others in attendance, as well as me, looked around in confusion. Our nation's "pledge" had been reduced to only six words. What happened to the rest of the pledge? Is this contracted version all that remains? Do our school children even know the full pledge? I know that quite a few years ago some parent, with the assistance of the ACLU, protested the fact that his/her child was "forced" to recite the pledge each school day. This rendered the pledge, and thus respect, optional. Sadness.
I don't know why I was surprised at the absence of the pledge. A similar lack of respect is seen at every sporting event from the school to the professional level. I invite you to observe closely the next time our National Anthem is played at any sporting event. You will note that about 10-20% of attendees will actually place their hands over their hearts. A few patriots will remove headgear and similarly place their hands over their hearts. Since Oct 2008, veterans are authorized to render a military-style hand salute and some will do so. Why do others only stand there with their hands in their pockets? Are they expressing some kind of protest? Are they lazy? Are they just ignorant? Don't take that last question in a negative way. What I mean is, have they never been taught appropriate respect for our nation's flag or anthem?
Well over 1 million men and women have sacrificed their lives in battle to preserve this great nation. Even today, Americans are sacrificing their lives in Afghanistan to defend a free United States. Do these sacrifices not warrant the minimal "inconvenience" of paying respect to our flag and anthem?
The beauty of it is, if you choose to NOT love and respect our country, you have roughly 200 other nations around the globe to embrace. If you have never been shown/taught the proper manner to show respect, please Google "Respect for the U.S. National Anthem", or ask any service member or your grandparents. God bless the USA.