*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*
Well, it finally happened.
I attended a city council meeting last week and before the meeting commenced we in the audience were all asked to stand and pledge our allegiance to the flag of the United States of America - and I wouldn’t.
I stood up, of course, I am not that disrespectful to other people’s viewpoints and I don’t want to make a spectacle of myself or make other people uncomfortable.
Some people take a knee during the National Anthem, and we all know where that has gotten certain big name figures, and I don’t want that sort of notoriety in my town.
But, even though I stood, I wouldn’t put my hand over my heart and recite the words that I was forced to memorize in childhood.
Instead I stood quietly with my hands folded in front of me and did not speak or look up, I just waited for it to be over and sat down.
It was a long meeting, and there was a break before public comment that night and I went out into the hall with a friend to stretch my legs and that is where a man walked up to me and called me out on my quiet.
“Do you have something wrong with the Pledge of Allegiance?”
What I wanted to say was ‘I don’t think it’s any of your business,’ but I was feeling feisty and this man annoyed me, so I said:
“I don’t feel comfortable reciting something that I don’t necessarily stand for.”
“Well,” the man said, “If you don’t stand and speak for your flag and your country, if you hate it so much here, why don’t you just get out?”
He turned and walked away as my eyes widened.
This wasn’t the first time someone expressed this sentiment to me, but it was the first time someone had done it to my face, and I couldn’t believe their audacity.
The great thing about America is that we have certain freedoms, and the freedom to decide not to pledge allegiance to the flag of said country is a freedom some people do not have.
I suppose if I am going to exercise the freedom to not pledge allegiance to the flag, other people might express their feelings of what I should do about it.
What do you think?