Happy 4th of July!


Today, I heard a song on television that brought back a sweet memory from when I was in the sixth grade. Our class had put together a show for Independence Day, and we belted out the song, You’re A Grand Old Flag, among other patriotic favorites. I still remember the pride I felt as I sang the words and watched the audience clap along – pride so big I thought I might cry.

You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true
‘neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

It seems a stark contrast to a story I recently heard on the news. I’ve included a link entitled “Arlington’s Battle Over the Pledge of Allegiance” by Scott Coen,which I believe does a good job of explaining the debate:

www.masslive.com/mywideworld/index.ssf/2010/07/celebrating_the_4th_of_july_without_the_pledge_of_allegiance.html

I agree with what Mr. Coen said:

“As an American I take pride in saying the Pledge of Allegiance. But as an American I will also defend my fellow citizens’ right to take a pass on reciting the Pledge.”

But by taking the Pledge of Allegiance out of the daily curriculums of many schools, haven’t we–in our efforts to keep from offending our “fellow citizens who want to take a pass”–taken away the opportunity for other students to learn the words of the Pledge and feel pride in reciting it? Couldn’t we teach instead, that it’s okay for some not to participate in the Pledge, so we can learn to respect our differences, instead of hiding them?

I don’t want to offend anyone, and in my personal life, I sometimes go overboard in trying not to offend. What’s overboard? Holding back my expression of something I feel strongly about. But don’t I have as much right to my opinion as anyone else?

I believe we as a nation also go overboard in our efforts not to offend, and often don’t realize we can’t make a situation please everybody, or not offend anybody.

So my question is, instead of tying ourselves in knots trying to find ways to keep from offending, why don’t we teach instead that it’s okay to have differences? One opinion does not have to be bad for the other to be good. Let’s be different with respect, so that we understand each other and learn not to be offended.

I’d prefer that this melting pot we live in be a lively blend of unique spices, rather than the bland mixture of mush we’re becoming.

It’s been a long time since I sang the words to You’re a Grand Old Flag, but this year, as I wave my sparkler in one hand and my flag in the other, I’ll be belting out the words, “You’re the emblem of, the land I love.” And I’ll be every bit as proud as I was in sixth grade.

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This entry was posted in 4th of July, flag, patriotism, Pledge of Allegiance, Scott Coen. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Happy 4th of July!

  1. LeAynne says:

    Your post reminds me of something I heard on June 23rd while watching The View. Melissa Etheridge was a guest. She said, "We are word police crazy now."I agree with Mr. Coen and Jan (and Melissa Etheridge too). Let's respect differences of opinion, as just that. Opinions.

  2. Jan Morrill says:

    Thanks, LeAynne. Yes, I agree with Melissa Etheridge, too. Happy 4th of July!

  3. Claire says:

    I agree. I think it's extremely important for kids to learn the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. I even think prayers should be allowed in schools–I know, shocking that I'd say such a thing. The reality is that by respecting everyone's individuality we are creating a cohesive, bonded group. When I was in the 1st grade–a mere twenty years ago–there was a girl in my class who, because of her religion, didn't say the Pledge and didn't write stories about holidays. The teacher explained to us all that April's family didn't celebrate Christmas. We were shocked, but it was discussed and we were all jealous because she always had more interesting stories to write than the rest of us.So, Amen, Jan! Happy 4th

  4. Jan Morrill says:

    Good story from 1st grade, Claire, and a perfect example of where accepting our differences could take us! Have a good 4th!

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