Students should stand for Pledge of Allegiance, express gratitude


Photo by Evelyn Biederman

The American Flag flies through the air at Stillwater Area High School representing freedom.

The school bell calls as students settle into their desks. “Please prepare for the Pledge of Allegiance,” crackles across the loudspeaker. 

Every Tuesday morning during first hour, students are given the opportunity to recite the Pledge. While some decide to sit, students should join in to show hope for the nation, especially during a time where the nation could use some.

History of the Pledge

The original version of the Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy. The piece was part of an initiative in schools to teach American values and commemorate U.S. progress.

Until 1942, students recited the Pledge in a salute. However, this custom was adjusted to the hand over heart position in order to avoid confusion with the Nazi salute during World War II. 

Another adaptation was the addition of the phrase “under God”. The words “were added during the Eisenhower administration in 1954 at the height of anti-communist hysteria,” according to

What the law says

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1943 West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette case that the Constitution does not require students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment protects a student’s decision not to stand for the flag or recite the Pledge.

Additionally, Minnesota State Statute 121.11A Subdivision 3 outlines the requirements for the Pledge in Minnesota schools. “All public and charter school students shall recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America one or more times each week.” However, the same statute also allows “a local school board or a charter school board of directors may annually waive this requirement” by a majority vote.

“It’s not a thing that should be waived, it’s just a sign of respect for the freedoms you have when you’re here,” senior Morgan Delaney said.

Why stand?

The most important reason students should stand for the Pledge is to honor those who have served to preserve freedom. Over 7,000 U.S. troops have died in the War on Terror between 2001 and 2021, leaving their friends and families to suffer a tremendous loss.

Junior Titan Pilquist explained he thinks of his grandfather who served overseas every time he says the Pledge. He makes sure to honor veterans whenever he can.

Furthermore, these troops protect the endless list of rights and freedoms U.S. citizens enjoy. Citizens often take these privileges for granted without considering the lives of those living in countries that deprive them of their basic human rights.

“Knowing what [soldiers] had to go through to give us what we want, and then not showing respect to them just makes me nauseous,” junior Jonna Swanson said.

Lastly, students should recite the Pledge because it unifies our country. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students were not required to recite the pledge last school year, causing many to fall out of the habit. The Pledge allows these students to come together and express their hope for the country, which is incredibly important in the polarized society we live in.

“There is no middle ground anymore, unfortunately. I think that the students who aren’t on one side or the other might feel embarrassed or judged by one side,” Swanson explained.

However, some choose not to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance because of racial inequality or civil rights issues. While they are not required to recite it under the First Amendment or Minnesota Statutes, these individuals should consider the lives sacrificed for the privileges they now enjoy. It takes roughly 15 seconds to say the Pledge. It is the least we can do to honor those who died for our freedoms.

“It’s a way of thanking them and showing respect, even if you don’t necessarily agree with everything,” Delaney added.

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Abby Thibodeau, Layout Editor-in-Chief

My name is Abby Thibodeau and I am a layout editor in chief for the Pony Express. I am currently in 12th grade. I love snowboarding, hunting, trapshooting...