I just read an article concerning three students who were given in school suspension because they did not stand during the pledge of allegiance.
Now, I can understand the unwillingness of a person to pledge their allegiance. That is perfectly fine by me. The problem I have here is that they were not giving any respect to it whatsoever. Here is how it boils down in my view: You are in this country, benefitting from a “free” public education which was created for you by the efforts of the people. The least you can do is show some amount of respect for that country. I am not asking you to pledge your allegiance or anything, but show respect for something that is providing you with so many things.
Aside from that, there is a school district rule that states that they must stand during the recitation. They don’t have to recite, but they do have to stand. They chose not to do this, and received punishment as a result. One of the things that they accept when they choose to go to school is that they must also follow the rules. This was one of them, and they chose to break it. This is one of those things that you just sort of have to accept as being a member of society.
Now… as for the reason why I feel this way about this situation… when I was growing up, I grew up in an Air Force family. My father was not particularly gung-ho about bombing people, and that was something I respected. However, what affected me most was when we would go to see a movie at the base theatre. Before every movie, they would play the national anthem, and everyone would stand and place their hand over their heart… except for my mother. She would stand, but her hand would not go over her heart. I asked her about this, and her answer was that she was not an American citizen. Despite this, she respected what everyone else was doing and would still stand with everyone else as a show of respect for what was happening, regardless of the fact that she was not a citizen. What this taught me was respect. If I am in a different country and their citizens stop to do whatever happens to be the method for allegiance or whatever, you had damned well better believe I will stop and show my respect and appreciation for what they are doing, even though I am not showing my actual allegiance to that situation.
Another situation that I have run into quite recently was when I walking out of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Every afternoon at 5 or 6pm they play the national anthem and hold a retiring of the flag ceremony in the main street area. As I was walking, the national anthem started up and the flag was being retired. I stopped right there in the middle of the street at attention and held my hand over my heart in civilian style salute, getting more and more angry at those around me who ignored it and continued with the hustle and bustle of being at an amusement park. Afterward I calmed down, resolving with myself that they just did not understand what they were missing in this land of ours.