I pledge allegiance to my patriotism

Jenna Amusin, News Editor

Every morning during in-person learning I used to stand up with my Block 1 class, face the American flag hanging in the corner of the room and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Groggy and half-asleep, I never understood why we started each day by pledging our allegiance to the United States of America. The blind repetition of these words was simply a practice ingrained in me since elementary school. Nothing more.

Suddenly my days are drastically different. Mornings consist of rolling out of bed just in time to scramble to my desk and sign into my first Zoom meeting. When I get on the call, there is no starred and striped flag in sight, and the recitation of the pledge as a class remains a distant memory from in-person learning — an experience shared by not all, but many of my peers at Glenbrook North. When I first began E-Learning, that was fine by me. 

What did I really gain from repeating the same few lines every morning? 

When I ask myself that, I remember the patriotism I felt in elementary school when I first learned the Pledge of Allegiance. I would proudly place my right hand over my heart and pledge with conviction to stay faithful to my country — the country that serves as a safe haven for so many. 

I still have this patriotism. That is not to say I am unaware of the many flaws that America has, nor is it to say I am choosing to ignore them. Rather, my patriotism pushes me to fight for change.

The next time I say the Pledge of Allegiance in class, I will not participate in it as a mindless ritual. I owe it to the patriotic elementary schooler in me to take that time and reflect upon the patriotism that drives me to recognize our country’s flaws and to want to uproot them. 

Many of us fight for change and justice in America, and we do it to improve our country for everyone living in it. This desire for improvement, for many, stems from how deeply we care about America and its people. So, I implore each of you to take the time during the pledge to reflect on the patriotism that drives you to want this country to be better.