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A Salute to Veterans
Friday 11th of November 2011 06:53 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Homecoming parade, Manhattan, KS
October 28, 2011

We often take for granted
the very things

that most deserve our gratitude.
~Cynthia Ozick

It was at Byers Grade School that I learned the words to the Pledge of Allegiance. Every morning, we'd turn our eyes to the northwest corner of the room, put our little hands over our hearts and repeat this oath:

(I'm second from the left)

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.

The memorizing came, I suppose, from repeating it every day. At first, you have to concentrate hard. You have to think about each and every word to make sure you get it right. There weren't many students in that first and second grade classroom. If you messed up, Mrs. Bond might hear you in the dozen or so voices.

Through the years, it could be like many things we say by rote. We may not truly think about the meaning. But there's just something about saying those words in unison with 50,000-plus people that makes me feel the words to the depth of my bones.

The Ceremony of Allegiance is as much a part of K-State football games as the coin toss. It gives me the chills - every single time.

So on this Veteran's Day, let's think about our allegiance and where it lies. It's not in the political skirmishes. It's not in the political posturing. It should have the same importance and pride that came when we finally remembered the whole pledge as we stood in our first grade classrooms with our hands placed firmly over our hearts:

One nation
Under God

(Flyover at K-State football game, October 29, 2011)

On this Veterans' Day, I thank the veterans and the active duty service personnel who protect my right to say the Pledge of Allegiance. It's up to all of us to not just utter the words, but live them.


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