I don’t agree with the logic that the Monroe High School student used to determine how he would honor the memory of his cousin, Lance Cpl. Wood. But I strongly agree with his right to respectfully do it. Our Bill of Rights guarantees his right to freedom of speech. Our nation’s founders believed it to be important enough to place it at the top of our Bill of Rights. Federal statute reinforces his right to how he has made his protest since November of 2004. And while his school district places requirements on how he expresses himself, it also very clearly allows him to do so.
Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a political ritual meant to instill our children with national pride. Respectful of those around him, quietly not participating in this ritual, in no way diminishes the ultimate sacrifice made by his cousin. He is not spitting on the grave of his cousin or any other brave American by respectfully not participating, nor does it make him anti-American. You don’t need to understand or agree with his logic. He’s not throwing it in your face, being offensive or disruptive.
I salute the young man for remaining respectful in the exercise of his rights and challenge him to find a more productive way to honor his fallen cousin. Shame on those who have vilified this young man for refusing to be another sheep in the herd.
And a very big shame on the “teacher” who taught this young man an important lesson in disrespect, abuse of authority, intentional deception and poor leadership.
Leonard B. Orth