Emma’s Dilemma: Something is wrong with the pledge

Emma Coleman , Editor in Chief

We live in a free country. You all should know that. We have freedom of speech and expression, meaning that we can say and do as we please. You may take offense when you read the words I’m about to write, and you may lash out at the Harbinger on social media if you so choose, but remember that just as you have your freedoms to express your opinions across the Internet, so have I.

It is important that we respect the choices that others make, regardless of whether or not we agree. So I’m not going to tell you that it is wrong to sit during the Pledge, persuade you to put your hand over your heart and recite the Pledge, or shame you for omitting the words “under God” from the Pledge. You are free to sit in that cold chair each morning with your lips sealed shut if you choose to do so. There is nothing wrong with that. No teacher or student should force another to participate.

But is Hereford being respectful of our flag, our nation, and our soldiers overseas? Sometimes I wonder. The Pledge is received with indifference, and – news flash – the flag on the morning announcements is wrong.

Wrong?

Allow me to explain.

The digital flag that waves behind Sophia as she recites the Pledge has eight stars lined horizontally in each row. The American flag actually has either five or six stars, alternating in each row.

I approached Morning Announcements adviser Weston Fellows on the subject. “I was not aware!” he stated in an email. “Yes, I would be willing to change it and, in fact, it should be changed.”

I find another aspect of the morning announcements troubling. Now, wHHS, you have done nothing wrong. I understand that you work hard to make the morning announcements effective and efficient, but I personally feel that using a recording to lead us in the recitation of the Pledge every morning is disrespectful.

Sophia, please take no offense. You say the Pledge beautifully. But you say it the same way that the world has been saying it for years on end. We all use the same cadence and phrasing, and by playing the same recording every day, that cadence and phrasing is enforced. Guess what? There is more than one way to say the Pledge.

Choir and guitar teacher David Sobel knows this to be true. “When you recite the Pledge, you’re reciting it like a speech or like a musical phrase . . . It brings out the musicianship in all of us, even though some of us might not recognize the musicians in us,” he said. “We all recite it the same exact way, which is kind of funny to me, because that means we all interpret the words the exact same way . . . It’s a beautiful phrase and they’re beautiful words, and no one thinks about it.”

Now, I’m not saying we should all recite the Pledge with Sobel-like gusto, but perhaps the Pledge would mean more to each of us if we personalized it. You’ve been saying those words since Kindergarten. Why didn’t you use the past ten to thirteen years to make them yours?

I just get sick of saying it. It doesn’t mean anything because it’s repeated so often. With habit comes carelessness.

Sure, that may be true, but I’m sorry you feel that way. Have you no patriotism? I don’t care that it’s 7:40 a.m. and you’re feeling lazy. Don’t you love this country? America is a wonderful place to be, and you have the opportunity to proudly proclaim that you are a part of it each and every single school day.

Yet many of you choose not to participate. And that’s your choice. And that’s okay. And it’s okay for me to write an article that speaks ill of the Pledge at Hereford when, I confess, my mouth doesn’t move when Sophia begins to speak. I, like many of you, am a hypocrite.

I’m sorry I just don’t seem to care about the Pledge, Hereford. I have morphed into the masses. Thanks for taking the American pride out of me, guys. You’ve taught me how to be a rebel.

Maybe now we can all learn how to be patriots.