I enjoyed reading “Allegiance to Gratitude” beyond what my words can encompass. In particular, it was relieving to read the opposition to the Pledge of Allegiance, especially in regards to it being mandatory in school systems. Of course, since I grew up in New Jersey, this is something I experienced as well. In addition to the Pledge, however, my school would have us “pray” to various religious figures. I think the exact wording was “St. Marcelin Champagnat, pray for us. Mary, Our Good Mother, pray for us. And let us remember to pray for each other”. This would come directly after the Pledge of Allegiance. It has never sat right with me, even when I was in high school. Kimmerer alludes to the discomfort associated with essentially pledging to a political system every day of school from kindergarten to grade 12, and I agree with it 100%. To me, it felt like an oxymoron to pray for others after “pledging allegiance” to a country that does not necessarily have liberty and justice for all.
I really cannot state how much I enjoyed reading the Thanksgiving Address. It really moved me. It is such a great contrast to the rigid, cold, political pledging ingrained in America’s school systems. All too often, I think gratitude for the life we have and the natural surroundings that sustain our life go forgotten. It really made me wonder why pledging our allegiance to the United States is deemed necessary, yet we are never taught to be thankful for the beautiful gifts Mother Nature has provided us with.