Opinion: Who says the Pledge of Allegiance anymore, anyway?

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

When was the last time you recited the Pledge of Allegiance? I'll go first.

The last time I recited the Pledge of Allegiance was on my last day of high school before graduation. No one has asked me to recite the Pledge of Allegiance since then, and I haven't been present at any gathering or event where other people were reciting it.

It's not that I don't love my country. I do. But the Pledge of Allegiance just doesn't seem like something that people my age say anymore.

Maybe it's because we grew up in a time when patriotism wasn't as popular as it is now. Or maybe it's because we're more likely to question authority than previous generations.

Whatever the reason, I don't think I'm alone in my lack of interest in saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Pledge of Allegiance is a solemn, serious thing. It's a promise to defend the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It's a commitment to uphold the values of liberty and justice for all. And it's something we should take seriously.

But lately, it seems like the Pledge of Allegiance has become more of a joke than anything else. It's something that people only recite when they're mocking it or trying to be ironic. It's something that people only think about when there's a controversy surrounding it.

Holding your hand over your heart during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner is different, not in intent, but in how often the situation may arise. If you attend a sports game, there's a good chance you'll have a decision to make.

According to NBC, "The national anthem is either played or sung prior to any athletic event in the U.S. - ranging from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA, all other professional leagues and usually including most high school-level sports as well." The Star Spangled Banner. Not the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Star Spangled Banner is also played at other patriotic events, like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July. But again, these are occasions where people are actively choosing to be patriotic. They're not passively being asked to recite the Pledge of Allegiance as part of a daily routine.

It's easy to find information about when people typically play The Star Spangled Banner. However, when it comes to the Pledge of Allegiance, you're more likely to find information about why rather than when. In other words, we aren't saying it very often unless, like me, we are saying it in school.

So who says the Pledge of Allegiance anymore, anyway?

In a word: Students. But not all students.

In the U.S., it's common for students to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school every day. However, students don't have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, according to CNN, and here's why:

"But the patriotic oath, despite its ubiquity, is not a legal requirement. Students don’t have to recite it.

Why? It violates the First Amendment, which protects free speech."

So there you have it.

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