Thinking back to elementary school, few things seemed routine. Every day brought new and interesting things. Hobbies, friends, and even the lunch menu changed on a daily basis. However, there is one thing that I vividly remember doing each and every day. Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every day was as routine as tying my shoes and drinking milk. I can still picture myself standing up, facing the flag, and saying the Pledge in my fifth grade classroom. The U.S. Supreme Court has deemed it unconstitutional to require students to say the Pledge because it contains the words "under God" in it. Even as an atheist, I disagree with this ruling and believe that all schools should allow students the opportunity to voluntarily recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
A common phrase uttered in debates like this is "separation of church and state." However, there is no such thing in the Constitution that says there must be a "separation of church and state." The First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the establishment of a church for the country by Congress. The concept of "separation of church and state" is a poorly crafted metaphor to describe the relationship between religion, the school system and the government. That metaphor has never been enacted into law by the United States as an amendment to the Constitution. Under current law, it is entirely legal for a school to display a "God Bless America" sign or to institute a voluntary saying of the Pledge of Allegiance. House Bill 592, which is pending final approval, would require students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the national anthem at the start of each school day ("Every Day is Flag Day"). I believe this is merely a symbol of national solidarity and unity.
Patriotic symbols, especially post September 11, are all over the place. There are flags flying high, stickers on cars, and American flag t-shirts everywhere you look.