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Alternative Words for Pledge of Allegiance

July 03, 2002

There is a simple and quite meaningful solution to the uproar over the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declaration on the congressionally modified (for purely political purposes) Pledge of Allegiance with its reference to a nation "under God"--let's all learn anew and recite regularly the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. The high school seniors in my first-period Advanced Placement American government and politics class have been doing just that for the past several years. This is much more than an avoidance of the constitutionally questionable religious reference; it takes back our Constitution and renews our commitment to the fundamental principles that guide our one indivisible republic as we pursue liberty and justice for all.

Patriotism is not about a flag. It is and should always be about thoughtful and reasoned understanding of the foundational principles that are what really hold us together as a people, especially when challenged. "We, the People ... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America" are words we can all live by.

Kevin H. Fox

South Pasadena

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So, the Pledge of Allegiance has gotten controversial. I'd like to see our kids recite this every morning at school. It was written about 40 years earlier than the pledge, but by America's greatest poet--a man who spent his entire life writing about what it means to be truly American--Walt Whitman.

"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God.... "

Douglas Fenwick

Pacific Palisades

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While many of my neighbors are outraged over the recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance, I find it curious we even have such a pledge. What sort of "allegiance" are we committing to?

Might it not be better to debate the language of the pledge, wherein we could say, "I pledge my best efforts to support and defend liberty, equality and justice for all." Now that makes more sense, even to a first-grader!

Ross Newman

Orange

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You reap what you sow ("Keep God in the Pledge, an Angry Chorus Cries," June 28). When you think about it, the response to the pledge decision is exactly what you would expect from a populace that has learned what it means to be an American from recitation of the pledge rather than from study of, say, the Federalist Papers.

Richard S. Marken

Los Angeles

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When asked about being dropped from the Pledge of Allegiance, God replied, "No comment."

The Rev. Robert M. Herhold

Palo Alto

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