What is the Pledge of Allegiance? What does it mean? Is it still relevant today? As we approached another fourth of July I was thinking about the Pledge after yet another day of reading sensationalist headlines. Depressed at the projected idea that this country is coming apart at the seams I wondered how much longer we could make this “Great American experiment” (as Alexis de Tocqueville deemed it) work.
I have a set of websites that I visit for times such as this. They are blogs of interest to me, usually a little more lighthearted in nature and generally more Catholic in nature. While reading one of them I came across a series on Jennifer Fulwiller’s wonderful blog, Conversion Diary. Jennifer was posting a word-by-word series on the “Our Father”, but not a series composed by her alone. She was enlisting the help of several people she knew in the effort.
I thought it might be fun to do something similar with the Pledge of Allegiance, something recited by so many of us in the classrooms of our youth. Not for the purposes of composing a dissertation on the origins and history of the Pledge. But instead to make this into a series of posts during the month of July after the 4th in which individual Americans from a cross section of our country told what it meant to them.
I divided the Pledge into twelve words or phrases. I then contacted eleven people that I know from different walks of life, faiths, political beliefs, etc., every one of them an American, and asked them to assist me in this series. Not all are professional writers, but that was not a qualification for participation in this little project. With short notice they all graciously agreed to participate and lend their talents. I gave them a few brief guidelines on what I was looking for but basically told them that there were no rules. I was looking for their own thoughts on their assigned word or phrase, not my own. My goals was that when all twelve posts are put together they will form a tapestry of their own that is somehow a reflection on where our Great American Experiment stands today, minus the rancor and divisions that our modern political reality seems to present to us. In short, I was looking for what unites us instead of what divides us.
I think this’ll be a fun series! Look for a post called “I Pledge” coming soon!