by Hailey Alfred, age 18
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
On July 4, 1776, 56 brave American’s signed the Declaration of Independence. Soon after the English government signed 56 execution orders. The men who wrote and signed this declaration knew from the beginning that they were committing treason, for which the punishment was death.
Even knowing that fact, those brave men went through with their plan. If they had faltered, or given up, we would not be the country we are today. We would not have the same rights and privileges.
When the National Anthem is played, it is intended to be a time to honor and respect those who fought for those rights, and for those who continue to fight for us today.
My mom is currently an Equal Opportunity Advisor in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. She is part of the 32nd Red Arrow Brigade that is being sent over to Baghdad, Iraq this year.
My mom, and many others like her, is putting her life on the line. She is doing this because of the deep sense of duty she feels to her country.
These soldiers should be honored for their sacrifice. People don’t need to believe in the current War in Iraq to support the soldiers who fight in it.
In public schools today, it is no longer a requirement for students to stand up during the National Anthem. Students have the right to remain seated.
Personally, I am not upset about this new requirement. It is, as they say, a free country. Choosing to remain quietly seated is also a right. It is a form of expression.
I am, however, upset that some students are not being respectful and quiet during this time. Even if an individual wishes not to stand up for the Anthem, they should at least be respectful. Part of living in a “free country” means respecting other people’s rights.
The United States of America is going through many struggles today. We are immersed in war, debt, environmental problems, and poverty. Many Americans are not happy with government officials. And, of course, we Americans have that right.
This is why we should never forget those who fought for the rights we have.
When a student sits down during the National Anthem, I assume it is for their own, personal reasons. It is entirely their right and choice to do this. But they should do so quietly. When they sit down, they are exercising a right for which those 56 brave men laid down their lives in 1776.
People continue to fight for those rights today, whether it is in the courtroom or on the battlefield. Some of us exercise those rights in the voting booth. Some of us exercise those rights by writing for or reading newspapers. Some Americans exercise their rights by sitting for, or standing up for, the National Anthem.
Regardless of what choice you make, the people who gave us those rights should be honored. And so should all of those who fought, and continue to fight, to protect those rights.
It is your choice and your right to decide.