My first year of teaching, in my early twenties we began each morning with the Pledge of Allegiance. My class of first graders had memorized the words the year before, in kindergarten. I liked to stand at the back of the room with the class facing the flag in front of me. It wasn’t until mid-year that I began to actually listen to the words that the children were saying. Although each kid had their own version of what they had memorized, if I compiled all of those into one, the Pledge of Allegiance would go something like this:
I pledgeable legions to the flag of the United States of a Miracle.
And to the Bepublic, for Richard Stands, one nation under God,
Invisible , with liverty and death for all.
I realized then, the importance of teaching children to UNDERSTAND what they are required to recite! About the only part of that interpretation that stayed in tact is “one nation under God.” Somehow, I took great comfort in that. At least– if the children didn’t get anything else–they knew that our nation was “under God.”
As I was running errands this week for the GROzone, I was told many times to “have a happy & safe 4th.” I overheard people talking about their plans for the big weekend–picnics, concerts, firework shows… I never heard anyone mention church.
One of the most loved Patriotic songs is “God Bless America.” In it we refer to our nation as the “land that I love.” The rest of the lyrics in the song are really more like a prayer: “Stand beside her, and guide her through the night with a light from above.” Our country has most surely had many dark nights. Some might even say we are in one now–I don’t know. All I do know is that a nation that foresakes its Creator is on a bad path. God has and does and continues to Bless America. Perhaps the time has come for America to bless God.
I have lots of fun stuff lined up for this Independence Day. But I will also remember to thank God first and foremost for the freedom to celebrate. And, I plan to go to church– after all, it’s probably the most patriotic thing you can do!