Pledge of Allegiance unites a nation and her people

Published 4:08 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

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By Donald Kirkland

On Veterans Day, November 11, and in today’s climate, it is of great importance to remember why we recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

It is not a pledge to one person or political party. It is a pledge to a united coalition of 50 states that have formed a more perfect union. While we are not a perfect nation, we strive every day to be a better version of ourselves to serve as a beacon unto the rest of the world.

In the United States, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is a cherished tradition that resonates deeply with the American spirit. For generations, citizens have stood with hands over hearts, Veterans and active-duty military members saluting, pledging their allegiance to the flag and the republic for which it stands, The United States of America.

This simple yet powerful act carries a profound meaning that extends far beyond a mere recitation of words. The significance of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a symbolic and unifying gesture that transcends political, racial, and religious boundaries. It serves as a reminder of the values that define the American experience: liberty, justice, and equality (all of which will forever be a work in progress). It reinforces the notion that, despite our differences, we are all united under a common flag and a shared commitment to the ideals upon which the nation was founded.

In the 21st century, the Pledge of Allegiance continues to be a significant part of American life. It is recited in schools, government meetings, and public gatherings, serving as a reminder of the nation’s enduring values and the need for unity in a rapidly changing world. Sadly, too many North Carolina governmental agencies such as city councils, boards and county commission meetings do not recite the pledge of allegiance.

Too many American citizens served this great country, with all her flaws, in the military to protect this country. Many have been sickened, injured and far too many have given their ultimate sacrifice for this nation. To us, reciting the Pledge serves to remind us of the cost many have given and gives us a sense of pride of being an American.

To not recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of a public meeting is a disservice and blight towards those who have given so much. Fifteen seconds to recite the pledge of allegiance is not that much time taken out of a governmental meeting to signify unity, and respect for this country. To say “you don’t have time to say the Pledge of Allegiance” or no excuse at all, is a disgrace and does not promote unity and respect for your fellow man/woman and especially veterans of this great country and state.

The Pledge of Allegiance is a symbol of unity and shared values that is a simple yet profound declaration of loyalty to the United States and has played a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s identity. It reminds us of the principles upon which the country was founded and the importance of unity in the face of our differences.

As we journey forward in an ever-changing world, the Pledge of Allegiance remains a steadfast beacon of patriotism and shared American ideals. It’s not just a recitation of words; it’s a promise to uphold the values that make the United States a beacon of hope and freedom for all.

I encourage you to read “In My Own Words” 2023 The Oral History Project. It is by the American Legion Department of NC. There are many stories of why men and women served our country, to include some of Ahoskie’s local veterans such as Donnie R. Taylor and Lawrence R. Smith II. All have varying backgrounds and walks of life, yet they all served with honor. Once you read this, you will understand why the Pledge of Allegiance is so important.

Donald K. Kirkland serves as the Commander of the Sons of American Legion Squadron 102 in Ahoskie.