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11 September 2006



Every morning at Miles' school they "invite you to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance." Some kids recite it word for word, hands on hearts, at the tops of their voices. Other kids stand respectfully, turned toward Old Glory on the gym wall.

We parents stand, too. I imagine that the parents who choose not to recite the pledge have children who say it, and vice versa.

I never heard the pledge without the words "under God," but when I discovered that they were an addendum during the Cold War--a reactionary alteration against the threat of Communism--I stoppped saying them. For fifteen years I've hummed to myself while two words which I don't believe belong in a public institution flow past.

This morning, when Mrs. Lester said, "Today is September the Eleventh. I want you to pay special attention to the meaning of the words we say today, and I invite you to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance," my eyes started to tear.

Oh, shit, she's really doing it, isn't she?

I put my hand on my heart and just stood there, eyes burning, swallowing because I totally choked.

I still hummed when they got to the God part.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


with love and gratitude, j

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please do not take following comments as being rude.....

1) When you say "G-- damn-it", what do you mean?

2) When you say "Oh G--", what do you mean?

3) What do you mean you "choked up"? Did you wish to say them but did not?

Yes those words were added during the Cold War. But also this country was built on the premise that God would bless us and we would prosper and grow as a people and nation. Look at the nations that have blocked God from all aspects of society...they are barbarians, and live in constant turmois. Look at America, we are a young nation and look how far we have come in 230 years. I am not trying to be rude, but this is how I feel. Would gladly welcome remarks to

Blogger Madeline Glass said...


Thanks for the comment and the chance to respond here.

When I use the word "God" in a sentence it doesn't really matter what I mean; I have chosen to say it. I could choose another word. That choice is not made for me.

I choked up thinking about September 11, 2001. Duh.

While I don't consider your opinion rude, I do take issue with your assertion that "Godless" societies are "barbaric and living in constant turmoil." This is quite a broad generalization and leads me to wonder whether a certain closed-mindedness may be guiding your statements.

I could be a believer, I could be an atheist, I could be somewhere in the middle. It doesn't matter for this purpose as there are people who share my views about the Pledge of Allegiance which are all of these.

I respect that there are others with differing views, but I still take umbrage with the addition of an exclusionary, monotheistic religious assertion in public schools.

And frankly, I'm not sure I agree that the US has come so far in 230 years. Unless you mean the far-reaches of American consumerism, our national sense of entitlement and power wielding in "barbaric" countries, then yes, we have come far.

And we certainly do think highly of ourselves.

Blogger Eric Riback said...

I consider myself very patriotic, and I love seeing the American flag, but I always reacted poorly to pledging allegiance to the flag. I pledge allegiance to the country period. I also go crazy with the flag lapel pins. Like the President needs to wear one to reming other leaders what country he's from? But I'll happily sing God Bless America at a ball game.

Blogger Aaron said...

I happen to be an atheist.

But even if I wasn't, I still take issue with the addition of 'under you-know-who' to the pledge.

If history has taught us anything, we know that when religion and government mix, bad things happen.

Prayer, God, and Faith-based-initiatives don't belong in government anymore than Intelligent Design belongs in the SCIENCE classroom (and it doesn't. Science, by definition, requires empirical proof, not blind faith).

Nice blog, as always. :)


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