Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I Pledge Allegiance

The first two photos were taken at the funeral of World War II veteran Jake Yarbrough, November 4, 2015, Stafford, KS

We often take for granted
the very things
that most deserve our gratitude.
--Cynthia Ozick 

It was at Byers Grade School that I learned the words to the Pledge of Allegiance. Every morning, we'd turn our eyes to the northwest corner of the room, put our little hands over our hearts and repeat this oath:

(I'm second from the left)

I pledge allegiance to the flag

Of the United States of America  
And to the republic for which it stands
One nation
Under God

With liberty and justice For all.

The memorizing came, I suppose, from repeating it every day. At first, you have to concentrate hard. You have to think about each and every word to make sure you get it right. There weren't many students in that combination first and second grade classroom. If you messed up, Mrs. Bond might hear you in the dozen or so voices.

Through the years, it could be like many things we say by rote. We may not truly think about the meaning. But there's just something about saying those words in unison with 53,000-plus people that makes me feel the words to the depth of my bones.

The Ceremony of Allegiance is as much a part of K-State football games as the coin toss. It gives me the chills - every single time.

So on this Veteran's Day, let's think about our allegiance and where it lies. It's not in the political skirmishes. It's not in the political posturing. It should have the same importance and pride that came when we finally remembered the whole pledge as we stood in our first grade classrooms with our hands placed firmly over our hearts:
One nation
Under God

On this Veterans' Day, I thank the veterans and the active duty service personnel who protect my right to say the Pledge of Allegiance. It's up to all of us to not just utter the words, but live them.
Flyover prior to the October 17, 2015 K-State game
May we remember what freedom really means.


  1. The stakes for reciting the Pledge were so much higher for you in your small class in Byers. Mistakes stood out like a sore thumb. But you've made me remember Mrs. McMillan's classroom and the struggle to get it right. Thanks for this post, Kim!

    1. I'm glad it generated some good memories, Cindy!

  2. What a beautiful post! I'm so honored to be able to say the pledge when the opportunity arises and always tear up when we listen to the national anthem with my hand on my heart....while my dear hubby salutes. He's a disabled vet who is the most patriotic person I know...and we both thank you for this special post.

    1. Thank you, Marsha. I'm glad it was meaningful to you!