A great country

Letters to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2000

The recent discussion about the Pledge of Allegiance brought back some amusing memories.

I was born and raised in Canada, but have lived in the U.S. off and on since 1967. In the early 80s, I sensed the tightening employment restrictions, and decided to take American citizenship. I attended the proffered classes in Juneau, along with about a dozen Filipinos, a French-Canadian and an East Indian.

We sailed smoothly through the materials on U.S. history and governmental structure until we were told that at the final ceremonies where citizenship would be granted we would be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in unison before a judge. Since I had been a confirmed atheist from my early 20s, and the East Indian was Hindu (a people who believe in multiple gods and goddesses), I was troubled about being required to swear allegiance to "... one nation, under God ..." After all, was this nation not founded by people who were adamantly opposed to religious coercion?

What to do? During some lengthy discussions with my husband and a few close friends I was advised to "say what you want to say," and so, on that sunny afternoon at Dimond Courthouse, when we were instructed to rise and recite the pledge, I held my head high and in a loud, clear voice pledged the allegiance to "... one nation, scooby-doo ..." I was granted citizenship along with all of my classmates.

This is a great country.

Rita M. O'Clair

Auke Bay

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