I Pledge Allegiance
By: Carolyn Hileman
I pledge allegiance to the old man in the wheel chair, to old to turn back time, to a time when he knew nothing of the world we know today where nothing matters anymore until you get your way. I pledge allegiance to the wrinkles on his face, brought on by years of worrying if he could pay his bills. I pledge allegiance to those strong hands that roll him where he goes, they have been his only friend since that battle long ago.
I pledge allegiance to the mother who has kept her sons room exactly the same as the day he left, who has run her hand across his picture every day and wept. I pledge allegiance to his wife who must raise their son on her own, in a world that calls his father murderer and his foes the chosen ones. I pledge allegiance to the daddy so proud to see his son, all dressed up in his uniform, who now wonders what he has done. He raised his child to believe in God, country and home and sent him away to fight for it so protestors could invade his home.
I pledge allegiance to the little boy who still salutes the flag, even though his friends laugh at him and he teachers preach the countries ills. I pledge allegiance to the old woman who lives all alone and has no one to share the stories of the hardships she endured to see our soldiers safely home. She is old and frail now and no one listens anymore to the stories of the sacrifice that they made during their war. I pledge allegiance to the man who can still fit into his uniform, who volunteered, yet denied to serve once again for Americaâ€™s side.
You see when you pledge allegiance you are not swearing your allegiance to some piece of cloth; you are swearing allegiance to the generations of Americans who have gone before you and those who will follow. You are not just repeating words for the sake of repeating them you are making a pact with the fallen heroes of the past and the heroes on the battle field today and those that will follow. You are swearing to uphold the fine traditions of your country and to protect her at all costs. Do not take those words lightly because the fallen heroes are listening and they will know if you mean it. America is not made up by a piece of cloth and a few words, she is made up of men and women boys and girls who steadfastly refuse to allow anyone to come in their midst who would do her harm.
So I pledge allegiance to the wrinkled hand that still salutes the flag, to the old man in the wheel chair who is the only one along the parade route who stands and salutes as the flag marches by. I pledge allegiance to the men who take their hats off when the sweet sound of the National Anthem fills the air, to the women baking cookies and knitting blankets to send to our troops. I pledge allegiance to the children writing letters to those men and women so far from home, with misspelled words and flowers they give them the will to go on. To all of these and more, from the last beat of my heart, though I know it unpopular I will stand and place my hand over my heart and I will pledge allegiance.
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