Garrett Looker is a sophomore journalism major and writes 'On the Lookout' for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Garrett at

I pledge allegiance

For 13 years of my life, I began my days with this saying. I began every morning with my hand over my chest and I spoke aloud these 31 words with pride.

It began in the dusty, cramped classrooms of kindergarten. The intercom, or “the voice from above,” would crackle on. A pause would last a second or two. Then we would rise, place our right hands over our hearts and speak aloud to greet the American morning.

Garrett Looker

To the flag

That was before, and now is now.

I no longer say these things to begin my morning. What was once second nature to me has faded into a memory of high school forgetfulness.

Of the United States of America

But what does it mean to pledge allegiance? What can I give to a flag of 50 stars and 13 stripes? What can a nation give to a flag that represents the lives of more than 300 million people?

What can we give to a flag that stands for life, liberty, for tyranny and oppression?

And to the Republic

To which allegiance am I pledging my soul?

For which it stands

What do we stand for? More importantly, what could we stand for?

What indecencies will we allow to continue, and which ones will we shine our great light of freedom upon?

One nation

A nation from the dark, peering into the future of uncertainty.

We come from the puzzled-pieces of a past; confusing, yet shaped and together. Yes, America is great, but we shall not beat our chests.

This one nation has stood for greater ideals, greater men and women than the world has ever seen.

Under God

But this nation has also fallen, as all do sometimes.

We have drug low with the lowest of thieves, stealing away the freedom of the tired, the weak, the forgotten and the damned.


Are we truly American?

What is the line that separates us from them, between the indivisible and the divided?

With Liberty and Justice

Because if we are not divided, we must stand for truth. We must stand for those that cannot. We must fight for the light in the world, to fight to show others the light.

For all.

And we are all. We are all American, regardless of race, religion, gender or culture. We are all American, separated by individual personality, but united by a desire to be greater than what we were before. We are all united by our desire to be American.

So I ask again, what America am I pledging allegiance to? Will I pledge allegiance to a nation that continues its days in the darkness, or one that chooses to be the shining light in a darkening world?

What is America?

Who am I?

I am just another American that looks upon a flag gently whipping in the breeze, thinking of my past and future.

I am just another American who wakes up, alarm clock blaring on the night stand, and continues life. Today, I do not say the pledge.

But tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow is a new opportunity, for me and our nation.

Good morning, America. What nation will you be today?