By Dr. Halvorson
I want to thank all the students at TCP for participating in and showing such respect for flag raising. Did you know that by law, public schools in America are required to facilitate the pledge at least once every day? Rather than do it in classrooms, TCP decided to have flag ceremony every morning. One reason is that with all our differences, we still have one thing in common; we are all citizens of the United States. Pride in our country is something we can all share. At the very least, a person can have pride that our country allows its citizens to speak freely about the country’s problems.
No one is perfect. Self-evaluation is important to growth and improvement. When you have discovered a fault you have, it is sometimes hard to feel good about yourself. But it is important to keep your “spirits up” or you may lose the strength to work on the fault. The same is true with our country. We have problems, but if we “get down” on our country, we can lose the motivation to constructively correct problems and resort to destructive displays of anger and depression.
What are we accomplishing by having flag raising ceremony every morning?
Unity – This is the only activity that involves every student at the school. Sports, music, arts, social activities, student council, graduation, etc. don’t include every student, however much they are available to all.
Respectful manners – In a world rapidly individualizing manners and losing respect for any person or thing, everyone still agrees there is a protocol for flag raising. It’s the only set of manners protected by law that some group of parents won’t object to. If fact, it is the law that we establish procedures where every student has the opportunity to say the pledge every day.
The establishment of TCP is a “cut above the rest” school – Schools like West Point and other established colleges and universities have traditions that make them stand out. Public schools that have to cater to everyone have a difficult time establishing traditions that won’t offend someone. Whenever I tell someone that TCP has flag raising ceremony every morning they are extremely impressed with such a tradition.
The pledge itself – Here is why I say the Pledge of Allegiance:
“I pledge allegiance”
It’s not all about me. There are others around me for whom I am concerned. I am part of something bigger than myself and I will strive to consider others’ needs as well as my own.
“To the flag of the United States of America”
Symbols are an important part of my life. Diplomas, awards, and my wedding ring all demonstrate to others that I work hard and am a committed person. The flag represents the commitments of all those who serve in the military including some of our own TCP students and those who died to create this land of the free.
“And to the republic for which it stands”
Even with its problems, I believe in this form of government: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. I am proud to be a citizen.
Unity is such an important part of our history and what we stand for that our country underwent one of the most horrible events a country can experience, a Civil War. And so, we stand united today.
God has many forms and different names for different groups of people. This country was based upon freedom of religion and the concept that government would never impose any one religion upon the people. For me, God represents freedom since He gave man free agency.
“With liberty and justice for all.”
Can there be any greater goal than to support these inalienable rights for everyone? It is not just for the few in power. Actually those in power are charged with the responsibility of ensuring these rights for everyone. Liberty and justice are so important to our country that even those who are not citizens enjoy the protection of our laws.