To Say the Pledge This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   It all started after I read The Man Without a Country.The events of that October morning in seventh grade led to my being banished fromsaying the Pledge of Allegiance.

The bell rang and I went to homeroom. Iwasn't in a great mood; it was Monday and I was tired. The intercom buzzed withmessages and I zoned out. There was a pause, then, "Please stand and join insaying the Pledge of Allegiance." I did not stand. "I pledge allegianceto the flag ..."

I sat, aware that I was the only one not standing.The teacher eyed me, but I ignored her. The Pledge ended, and a blue slip landedon my desk - I had a detention for not respecting my country. " ... Of theUnited States of America ..."

The next day the others again stood tosay the Pledge. Again, I did not rise. Determined to make my point, I satsullenly. Once more, a detention slip found its way to my desk. Crumpling it, Ismirked and left for my first class. After lunch, I was paged to the principal'soffice. "... And to the Republic ..."

I sat in theleather-upholstered chair anxiously awaiting the principal. The door slammed, hewalked briskly by me and sat down. I wondered, a bit apprehensively, what hisreaction would be.

"Why don't you say the Pledge?" heasked.

Cockily, I responded, "Why should I?" He sat back andsighed, the kind of sigh that meant he didn't want to deal with me, so I smiled.He asked for my detention slip and told me I didn't have to serve it. I smiled asI handed him the crumpled blue paper. What a break, I thought.

"Kelly," he said, "you don't need to say the Pledge oreven hear it." I frowned, because I knew I was in deeper than I had thought.I fidgeted and he continued. "You're expected to say the Pledge, but Icannot force you to, so during announcements you will sit in my office." Iwas dismissed. "... For which it stands ..."

That was that. Ispent the next two years sitting in a virtually soundproof office during themorning announcements. I became a woman without a country. At first, I was proud,for I had defied authority. But pride faded and emptiness took its place. Ipondered the result of my immature antics. I had made a deliberate decision, oneI would never forget. I found the honor in saying the Pledge and the power todestroy its significance. To say the Pledge is to have a country. "... Onenation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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