It's time to again strengthen the Pledge of Allegiance with the addition of two words -- "responsible freedom."
The present pledge does not mention freedom -- only liberty and justice. Liberty is a legal right while freedom is an individual responsibility. Our nation, a republic of laws, is a democracy where liberty depends upon responsible freedom as the foundation which supports it.Few people seem to be aware that the words liberty and freedom are not synonymous. However, both are mutually entwined and both are essential to support exemplary American citizenship. Yet, today so many both young and old are abusing their freedom and flaunting their liberty.
Our first Pledge of Allegiance by Francis Bellamy was introduced at the Chicago World's Fair in Ocrober 1892 on the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus.
The pledge was then recited as, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of my country and to the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all." The Civil War made us a nation indivisivble and the pledge featured this concept.
A generation later, in 1923, our nation was again at risk. Thousands of Europeans, including Russians, came to our shores. Many of them had an apparent feeling when reciting the pledge that they were pledging allegiance with warmth and patriotism to their former country. As a result, our pledge was strengthened that year with the deletions of the words "flag of my country" to "flag of the United States of America."
Another generation went by. The concept of godless communism was penetrating the hearts of many. This resulted in another strengthening of the pledge in 1954, with the words, "under God," through the resolution with President Eisenhower's approval.
Our nation is again at risk. This time in 1989, the situation in our country calls for another strengthening of the pledge. It involves an awareness and resolve to improve personal citizenship and integrity.
Responsible feelings for preserving freedom's ethical principles in everyday living seem to be weakening. The flagrant use of harmful drugs and alcohol is frightening. Sexual abuse and the increase in crime is reported everywhere. This deplorable situation is the result of wayward acts by persons who are abusing their freedom.
A congressional act now recommended by President Bush provides for $7.9 billion in appropriations to counteract the cocaine and other harmful drug traffic is a need that is alarming. Never before has one country had to face such a dilemma.
Will such an expenditure of tax funds solve the problem? Is the addition of more police officers, more judges and more prisons the answer? JWill the addition of more legal power and f orce be the ultimate solution? Doubtfully!
It's about time that all citizens, including schoolchildren and teenagers, understand that the role of liberty and freedom are opportunities based on individual responsibilities. This will require improved education at all levels -- national, state and local.
Now is the time to add "responsible freedom" to the pledge to be recited as, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty, justice and responsible freedom for all."
It is estimated that at least 15 million students recite the pledge each school day and perhaps that many adults recite it each month. The proposed strengthened pledge will then be a motivation for responsible performance in freedom and not just a mere passive rhetoric effervescence as it is today with so many.
As such, it wilsl penetrate the minds and hearts with a sense of patriotic heraldry for liberty and justice and a feeling of responsbility for preserving individual freedom. Such a feeling can be patriotically contagious.
May the Pledge of Allegiance be so strengthened through appropriate legislative action in time for the 500th anniversary of the discovery of American by Columbus in October 1992 and recited from the lips of every patriotic American by the year 2000.