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Pledge of Allegiance: Reflection on Orlando Tragedy
By Larry Buford, Contributing Writer
Published June 16, 2016
Larry Buford

Larry Buford

In the aftermath of the horrific tragedy that took place in Orlando, FL on June 12, we are seeing clips on the news of people pledging their allegiance to America.

We hear words like ‘whether you are Black, White, Asian, Latino, straight, gay, Christian, Muslim, and the list goes on – we are all Americans.’ That’s the spirit! But sadly it seems, only in times like these.

What about every day? If the heads of state, the United States Senate and Congress can open each session with the Pledge of Allegiance, why can’t the rank and file?

I’m aware of the controversy surrounding the use of certain words like “under God.” If certain words offend people, then don’t say them, but as a whole we as a people need to affirm our loyalties to counter the pledge that “radical” Islamists are exacting from their recruits. Our president should take the lead on this just as President Benjamin Harrison acted on it when the credited author, Francis Bellamy, brought it to him in 1892.

It was not the perfect pledge as indicated by the many revisions over the years, but it was a start – something the nation could rally around. The original version had only 23 words:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The current version has 31 words:

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.

The words “my flag” were replaced with “the flag of the United States” so that some foreign-born people may not have in mind the flag of the country of their birth. Former House Speaker Jim Wright once said, “I think it is very important that all of us recognize that the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag is something intended to unite us, not intended to divide us.”

Perhaps the best way to honor those who lost their lives in what’s being called the worst mass U.S. terrorist attack since 9/11 is instead of singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events, we recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Thank you, President Harrison; I hope our current or next president will follow your lead for the good of all true Americans.

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Categories: Religion
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