I looked around at their faces and postures. It was clear that it wasn’t their religions that kept them seated. Didn’t appear to be defiance, either. It was apathy. They just didn’t care.
A few short years ago, when our country was attacked, flags flew everywhere. These children wouldn’t remember, but still—what fickle people we are. Does this mean that our country is only great when we are victims?
I deeply admire the one-fifth who stood. It isn’t easy being the non-conformist, least of all when you’re a teenager.
My district has its own high school for children who couldn’t make it in other schools. Last time I was there on pledge of allegiance day, I looked around at the slouching. What gets me is that a lot of these kids join the military. I told them that. I asked them how they’d feel knowing that people back home weren’t even willing to stand for the flag they were risking their lives for. One boy said, “Hey, that’s right. I’m going into the army.” And he stood. Then another stood, and another. And they all stood. All of them.
I felt a surge of pride. Mistakes? Sure. But the beauty is that we’re here because of mistakes that happened before we got here; we’re set up to learn from them. Give us your huddled masses…and we will give them a chance. In all things human, apathy is one of the greatest enemies. And respect is the key to success.
Today I will stand up for our flag. Even if I stand alone, it’s nothing compared to what others have done for me so that I might have the privilege of living beneath it. Happy Flag Day.