I am most disturbed by the recent articles that appeared in the Juneau Empire regarding the law requiring the Pledge of Allegiance in our public schools.
There has been some concern that the Pledge of Allegiance represents an Oath to a God and therefore it offends some students and parents. There also have been statements that the Pledge of Allegiance was created to promote the sale of flags by a flag manufacture. With all this misinformation, it is not hard to understand the problems we have with our children not giving respect to our nation and the flag it represents.
The flag, like the cross, is sacred. Many people employ the words or term "Etiquette of the Flag." This expression is too weak, too superficial and smacks of drawing-room politeness. The rules and regulations relative to human attitude toward national standards use strong, expressive words, as, "Service to the Flag," "Respect for the Flag," "Reverence for the Flag," "Devotion to the Flag," and "Behavior Towards the Flag."
For centuries, the flags of nations have been saluted by individual and organized civic or military bodies. In the United States of America, the salute with right hand, while the person stands at attention, is the common and accepted method. The uncovering of the head is also recognized as a salute. Placing hat above the heart or hand on left breast is also esteemed reverential.
Pledges of Allegiance offered to flags are of antiquity, and the British government exacted a form of loyal expression of our colonies in particular. Our nation has been slow to adopt any definite pledge. In 1892, the late James B. Upham, of Malden, Mass., wrote the original draft of the pledge, which gained wide currency through its publication in "The Youth's Companion," and which, with slight variations, is now in general use throughout the United States of America. Definite and distinct, as binding as an oath, it leaves no doubt in the mind of the listener or speaker that the pledge is to the American Flag.
The important words capitalized, it reads:
"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."
It is an honor to salute the flag of the United States of America and I am disappointed that it now requires us to have a law to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in our public schools.
When was the last time you hear our children sing "America the Beautiful"?
Gordon Warren Epperly
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