One of my first experiences upon returning to the United States after 10 weeks in Brazil was one that I needed to reflect on for a while. Usually I share what is happening in a direct way and as it is happening. This one I needed to let soak for a bit.

Two days after returning to the US, I took the kids to school. That morning was the weekly assembly, which always concludes in the same way. The kids cover their hearts and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

This morning, standing there with several hundred elementary school kids, the foggy sky enveloping us, the pledge of allegiance rang out with resounding clarity.

I’m not a Nationalist and I’m not someone who pledges anything lightly. Frankly, I get concerned when I see American Christians jump up and down over their flag, but barely raise a finger for Jesus. I’ve been through my share of pledges and national anthems. I’ve traveled to dozens of countries and cultures and pride myself on recognizing our equalities. So, the pledge is really no big deal.

This morning was different.

This morning, I thought about what the flag represents. What it was designed to embody. I realized the very passion I have for Americans seeing other countries and cultures as equal could only come from the very pledge I was reciting. I reflected on the short history of our nation and the beauty of why this country was founded in the first place.

All of this, for all of us.

So I stood, proclaiming loudly:

I pledge allegiance
to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God,
with liberty and justice for all.

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