Archive for October, 2011

Seattle Parents Attempt to Rewrite Pledge of Allegiance

October 28, 2011

In an apparent attempt to “globalize” an American public school and eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance, some parents have rewritten the Pledge.  The battle at the John Stanford International School  has been all over the news this week because one of its parents, an Air Force veteran mom, was horrified at the thought of her young daughter being exposed to the school’s daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. It did not jive with her desire to raise her child with a “one world” perspective rather than an American perspective.  

Here is what the parents offer as an alternative: “I pledge allegiance to the Earth and all it’s [sic] natural systems. Interdependence is what I seek, on one planet, with one people, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The move to unravel America’s national fabric is dangerous.  And it’s always led by those who are either dedicated to or sympathize with socialism.  The Pledge of Allegiance unifies Americans around American values.  Socialists wish to do away with American values, particularly the Christian religion, and replace it with socialism.  That is why there is so much anger over the phrase, “under God”, being in the Pledge.  And that is why there is a move to rid the nation of it altogether.  If it were not successful in unifying Americans, no one would care.

A nation must have common beliefs, values, history and traditions in order to survive. The Pledge was always meant to be a means to teach children about America and its values.  And it has served us well in that regard.  Since the late 1800s, American children have been pledging their allegiance to the flag, the symbol of freedom and over time, this nation has made progress in bringing liberty and justice to more and more citizens.

Fortunately, there is a good number of parents who support the new principal’s decision to follow state law and recite the Pledge of Allegiance like the rest of the nation does.  I hope they organize and stand firmly behind the principal’s decision, which was the right decision.

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Pledge Fight Continues in Seattle

October 26, 2011

Controversies are brewing about the Pledge of Allegiance all over the nation.  Currently, there are three communities where Americans “offended” by the Pledge are fighting to remove it from schools.  The case that seems to elicit the most puzzlement is happening in Seattle, where an Air Force vet is simply beside herself with angst over the thought of her daughter being exposed to the Pledge. 

John Stanford International School (JSIS) is the type of school you likely have never heard of.  I certainly had not until this story.  It is an “immersion” school, a school where, for half the day, the students learn their lessons in either Japanese or Spanish.  Great way to teach young children a second language.  On its face, I’m all for that.  Its mission seems focused on proficiency in a second language at an early age, although it also speaks of “cultural diversity”, a moniker that is getting tiresome.  That, I am not so much in favor of if for no other reason than the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of diversity, leaving commonality to die on the vine.

I am also against eliminating the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, which, by the way, is mandatory according to state law.  Every state in the nation has a similar law, although the practical application may be somewhat patchy.  Also part of Washington’s law is the option for children who do not wish to recite it to sit quietly and respectfully while their classmates participate.  No child can be punished for not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sounds reasonable to me.  But, not to US Air Force veteran Stacy Sides, who says she specifically chose to move to Seattle to send her daughter to JSIS.  The focus on multiculturalism was enough of an attraction to her to change her residence so that her daughter could have a global perspective on things.

Here is some advise for Sides: Use the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance as, what your generation likes to call, a “teaching moment”.  Teach your daughter that in America, there are all sorts of people.  And those people are FREE to believe all sorts of things.  And the reason they are FREE to believe whatever they choose to believe is because we are ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

Teach her that other nations – and they are many in number – do NOT allow their citizens to believe whatever they want to believe. In other words, they are NOT FREE.  Lastly, teach her that, in order for all Americans to remain FREE, we must have a common foundation on which to stand.  A foundation that has proven to protect the right of humankind to live freely.  A foundation that, because of FREEDOM, is not perfect, but is remarkably self-correcting.  A foundation that respects the rights of all individuals.

Sit down and discuss those principles with her and then give her the choice (another practice your generation is taking to the extreme, but in this case, may prove worthwhile) of whether or not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  I rather expect, with even just a little fairness in your explanation of America, she’ll be just fine reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Happy Pledge of Allegiance Day, America!

October 12, 2011

The Youth's Companion, 1888.

October 12, 1892 was the day that an estimated 12 million school children recited the Pledge of Allegiance for the very first time.*  After reciting it, their schools and towns prayed or read Scripture.  The principal of every school in Boston, MA read aloud Psalm 145. New York Times, October 22, 1892, page 9.  

1892 was a time of great divisiveness in America. A time when parents wondered if their own children would grow up knowing the blessings of freedom … or if America would fall to socialism.  Yes, socialism.  You see, the ideas of redistributing wealth and nationalizing industry had just entered the American conversation in the late 1800s.  While it was a novel idea at first and while some Americans took its ideas to heart, it unnerved most Americans.  Liberty was facing an enemy it had never faced before and Americans didn’t like it.

One man had another idea. “Could the Stars and Stripes be hung upon the walls of every home and of every school room in the land, how grandly might patriotism and love of liberty be unceasingly taught.”  This idea came from James Upham, a patriot unknown to Americans, but a man who united America during a time of great upheaval.  Upham knew that “love of liberty” would ultimately win the day. 

And so, he began a campaign to place an American flag in front of every school throughout the nation.  A simple idea, yes.  But, one that Americans took to heart.  By 1891, 21,000 schools had a new American flag flying in front of their school.  Later, Upham conceived of the idea to recite a pledge underneath it. 

His dream came true in 1892 – the first Columbus Day, which was also the day America came together to celebrate the 400th anniversary of her discovery.  A great day.  A day of unity, patriotism and love of liberty. 

Today, we brush past Columbus Day as if it is nothing more than a day to shop or sleep in late.  But, its genesis was so much more than that.  It was a day that Americans united to boldly proclaim their love of country and their determination to keep America free. It was the day Christopher Columbus was celebrated like a rock star.  It was the day the Pledge of Allegiance made its debut … and America set aside its differences to celebrate its exceptionalism. 

You have likely never heard this part of our American heritage. What a shame it isn’t taught in schools!  A nation that does not pass along its heritage to the next generation is a nation doomed to die. 

I have spent the last 17 years researching the history of the Pledge of Allegiance.  And if there is any truism about the Pledge, it is this: The history of the Pledge of Allegiance is the history of America’s rejection of socialism.  Pure and simple. 

Tricia Raymond is an expert on the history of the Pledge of Allegiance and speaks frequently on this topic.  She is the author of America’s Story: A Pictorial History of the Pledge of Allegiance. Watch for the release of her new book, Saving One Nation Under God, How the Pledge of Allegiance Helped America Fight Socialism. Launch date: 11/11/11

* Actually, there were two “first” Columbus Day’s in 1892. The other was October 21, 1892.  No, it wasn’t because of a typographical error.  There was another reason.  But, you have to buy my book to find out what it was!