Point: Should the pledge of allegiance be recited at school?

Jack Lieblein, Staff Writer

“One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  These are words that define our country.  Courageous men and women fight for our country every day to protect those rights, so to not recite the Pledge of Allegiance is directly disrespecting our troops.  Ever since Pre-K, one has grown up reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in numerous districts across the United States, including Port Washington’s Union Free School District.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the beginning of the 2020 academic year. 

“I find that not saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school is very disrespectful because when we say the Pledge, we are honoring our country,” said junior Skylar Smaldon.

Even though public schools in New York are required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance everyday, students can choose whether or not to participate.  In the first few weeks of school, Schreiber temporarily disregarded this requirement by not saying the pledge.  Throughout history, the Pledge has been used to unify the masses, from students in a classroom, to the entire United States.  In current times, more than ever, it is our utmost responsibility as Americans to ensure that we stay united and work for the betterment of this nation. 

Sept. 11, 2001 was a day that changed America as we know it.  Every year on Sept. 11 we remember the lives that were lost: the innocent travelers, workers in the buildings, and the brave first responders that ran into the World Trade Center to save as many civilians as possible.  We remember the husbands and wives that did not come home to their children and the sons and daughters that were taken from their parents.  We say thank you to New York’s finest and bravest for doing their best job possible to save lives, running into crumbling buildings and risking their lives for others.  And on that day, of all days, we must rise and say the Pledge of Allegiance to honor those who have lost their lives for others, to stand with our fellow Americans.  

This year, although there was a moment of silence to honor those lost on 9/11, the Pledge was not recited.  A number of students were disturbed by the omission of the Pledge and emailed Dr. Pernick about it.  

“We are still working out how to do morning announcements which would include the pledge.  I hope we have the solution soon,” said Dr. Pernick in an email responding to one of those students. 

The following week, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited again in the morning and some announcements were made. This was undoubtedly a civics experience for the students involved, as they elicited at change that had previously been pushed aside. 

With this country more polarized than ever, we must take the time to remember what unites us.  We are all Americans and have a common goal: to improve and unite our country together.  While troops overseas fight to protect our rights, we must exemplify our support by reciting the Pledge.  In order for our country to become unified, it is crucial that we all work together and stand by each other.  That is exactly what the Pledge of Allegiance does; it unites Americans under common values, unity, and equality.

“I was confused that a tradition like that could just go away.  It also is something that brings the school together and without it, I felt distant from my peers,” said junior Iann Fine.

Those who do not believe in what the Pledge states and/or stands for, reserve the right to sit and not recite it, but it is necessary for patriotic students to have the option to say it. The Pledge of Allegiance is more than mere words being spoken to a piece of cloth.  It symbolizes the importance of respect, unification, and equality in the United States.  Additionally, it highlights and reminds us of the sacrifices Americans have made across history to ensure our freedoms.