For some time now, I’ve been hearing a lot of malarkey about how some things in our country are outdated – tired and old – and in need of revision, or even replacement. The conversation typically centers on our nation’s founding, and the tripe that we need to move away from our roots, if you will. I’ve never quite understood why there are those who insist on all this change and transformation (you know who you are). Because America was founded on timeless principles – not some fad or passing trend. Freedom doesn’t have an expiration date.
Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking – “here goes Liz on some political rant.” Not at all (well, maybe a little bit, but I try to keep things in check so you guys don’t all have a cow). Actually, I bring this up because I’ve been thinking about our friends in Livingston, TN., where Colton and I lived for more than four years.
Livingston is one of those places where everyone knows every body. While the county of Overton is home to more than 21,000, the town itself boasts less than 6,000 inhabitants. Strangers speak to other strangers, and before long, they become friends. People know the value of a hard day’s work. And yes, maybe life is just a little simpler there. Because they’ve held true to their values – faith, family and friends. And they love their country. Chances are, they have family in the military. If they don’t, they can quickly point to others who do.
Although much has changed over the years, you can find a sense of tradition, a sense of small-town Americana, just about anywhere you look. And one of my favorite places to see it in action was at Rickman Elementary, where Colton attended school. At one point, Rickman was home to kindergarten students through high school seniors, but now educates students through the eighth grade. While the faces of the students may change from year to year, one tradition remains solid.
Each morning, prior to the start of the school day, everyone gathers around the flag pole outside. Boy Scouts hoist the American flag, and students, teachers and staff place their right hands over their hearts and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Doesn’t matter if it’s snowing or cold or windy or hot, each and every morning they raise the American flag.
Some may say that’s crazy and old-fashioned – that it’s time to move beyond such silliness.
I would beg to differ. I maintain that this simple routine not only instills a love of country, but also provides a sense of belonging. A sense of pride in knowing that some things in life are meant to be cherished and held onto. It reminds us of what really matters in life, and cements the traditions and principles and values that define not only our generation, but all those yet to come. It says, “This is who we are – this is what we believe. Like it or lump it.”
And there’s nothing crazy or outdated about that.
Out here in Utah, in our school district, the kids listen to the National Anthem and say the Pledge of Allegiance only once a week. That’s how it’s been for as long as they remember. I was telling them about how when I was a kid, back in the dark ages, we said the pledge every single morning of every school day. They thought this was really strange. I suppose in their minds every Monday, they are saying the Pledge for the week. Liz, how often do the kids say the Pledge out there in Kentucky? Is it once a week also?
Once a WEEK?!?! Are you kidding me?!?! They still sing the National Anthem and say the Pledge every day – at least at our school. But they recite it in their individual classrooms. To me, it’ s just not the same as watching the flag ascend up the pole, followed by the Pledge. You said that they listen to the National Anthem – as in they don’t sing along? I wonder how many people even know the words anymore… sigh…