If you're watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs on TV, chances are you're hearing some outstanding renditions of our National Anthem. This got me thinking about a recent controversy in my kids' schools. I guess the schools now have signs in every classroom where students are told in writing they do not have to stand and recite the pledge. Obviously, I assume someone somewhere must have filed a complaint or perhaps even threatened civil action over having their child recite an oath to this country.
Forget for a moment that the Pledge of Allegiance is pretty much a benign statement and non binding. For some, it is said with the same zeal and enthusiasm as "You're welcome" or "Gesundheit". We say the Pledge usually because it's common courtesy for the situation. Let's say you're in a foreign country and asked to do something pretty benign but unfamiliar to you. Do you refuse on selfish grounds or do you politely go along with your host? I cannot imagine going to someone's home, being asked to remove my shoes, and refusing to do so.
Now let's look at the Pledge itself. We live in the greatest country on Earth, and we honor it by saying a beautiful and stirring oath to it. Other countries have pledges and anthems, too. Has anyone ever been to Britain or witnessed the Changing of the Guard and found themselves humming along to God Save the Queen? It's not treason or heresy; it's merely a sign of respect for the greatness and historical significance of the country you are visiting. In fact, it's a shame there's no Canadian teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. Although I love this country and sing the anthem every chance I get (even at ballgames where I'm the only one in the crowd singing), there's nothing like singing O Canada followed by the Star-Spangled Banner as a goosebump-inducing encore.
Embrace your country and it's heritage. Be proud of the flag, the anthem, the Pledge. It's called respect. I don't believe that's asking too much.