The Pledge of Allegiance on My Lunch Break

13 07 2011

Strange things always seem to happen to me. Today I had an unusual thing happen to me while on my lunch break. Without much thought, I decided to sit on one of the many benches that dot The National Mall to read my latest book. It’s normally somewhat difficult for me to concentrate on much when sitting along The Mall though, because people watching -especially in tourist season, can be so addicting. Today was no exception.

As I was just getting into my book, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a group of children wandering towards me. Sure, children roam about The Mall on any given day, but this group of about seven kids ranging in age from about nine to 12 years of age didn’t have the normal chaperone with them, so I was captivated. The girl who was the oldest, seemed to be the leader, and she had a clipboard in tow. Whenever I see anyone roaming around the city with a clipboard I naturally assume they are petitioning for some organization, but this haphazard group of kids couldn’t be part of that.

Of course, the group of kids came my way and the oldest girl with the clipboard approached me. I braced myself to tell them “no thanks” to whatever they were petitioning. I listened to the girl explain that they were part of a church group scavenger hunt and I had already seen that they had completed a number of the items on the list. She asked me if I could “sing The Pledge of Allegiance and draw a smiley face next to the corresponding instruction on the list.” I looked at her puzzled. Was there some tune to The Pledge I didn’t know of? I felt like I was a bad American or something. When she saw my confusion, she corrected herself, saying it would be fine if I just said it. Seemed harmless enough, so I proceeded. After I had finished and drawn my smiley face on her paper, marking that the group had completed that item, she thanked me and strolled away.

As I watched the group trail behind her, I thought about what had just happened. Was that some secret way to make sure, “…one nation, under God…” was still included in The Pledge? I know that some people think that including God in The Pledge is not right and that religion should stay separate from politics and other non-related issues. What if I had left that part out? Would she have corrected me? Would my recitation not count? Perhaps she would have crossed out my smiley face or wouldn’t let me draw it and then asked another person for their assistance. What if it was a test and I had passed? Who knows why that was listed on the church group’s scavenger hunt. And for all I know, I could most likely be looking into this too much. But if there was a correlation, I think that would be interesting.

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