Eila’s school recently got a new principal, and the day he appeared so did the pledge, booming over the loudspeakers. The kids were told to stand up, stand still, face the flag, and place their right hands over their hearts. Apparently that’s the norm for pledge and anthem; we just missed out on it for a bit because we had a renegade principal.
A number of the parents are upset. I hear them in the halls analysing and criticising the pledge for the benefit of their six year olds. But, criticism apart, something sticks. I’ve seen the college freshmen at convocation, facing the flag with their hands on their hearts, full of American pride.
The last time we were at a public event where they played the anthem, Eila wanted to stay sitting and read her book. I told her to get up and she told me to buzz off. Of course I’m not tolerating that five year old rudeness. I pulled her up and hissed in her ear: “You WILL stand up and stand still out of respect for the country in which you live.” And then as an afterthought I added: “And you will NOT put your hand on your heart because you NOT American.” That’s the compromise we will live with for the moment.