Working in Bible School gave me the opportunity to observe the group as they recited: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
I focused on the six year olds. That was probably the age I learned the words…my first year in school, not knowing the meaning of the words, but realizing the Pledge of Allegiance was something special and very important. Had I been asked to recite The Pledge alone, I wonder what I might have said, but in a group I can remember standing proudly and pledging to the top of my voice! That’s exactly what I witnessed as a teacher in Bible School that day.
It’s an impressive experience to watch a group innocently reciting, while standing straight and tall. The look on their faces…sometimes as serious as veterans when they vow to protect our flag from enemies both foreign and domestic.
During snack time, I asked the six year old, who had been chosen by me, to be a flag bearer, what the flag meant to him and the feeling of being chosen to carry it. How did it feel to recite the Pledge of Allegiance? His immediate reply was: “It means I’m proud to be an American.” Was that a good answer…or what?
I patted him on the shoulder and bragged to him what a fine job he did caring the flag.
While he gulped down his Hi-C punch drink, I reminded him to always love, to respect it, and display it proudly, as he had done. With wide eyes and a nod of agreement he couldn’t have been more serious, and I’ll tell you right now, it was a look that put a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat.
This happened more than 20 years ago. That boy would be much older…and much wiser now. Today I think of that boy and I glance at my nephew’s 8x10 photo…now serving in the Army, proudly dressed in his military uniform, and when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, I picture him giving a snappy salute as I silently say to myself…”God Bless America and God Bless Our Boys Who Grow Up To Be Soldiers.”