"Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."-Second Continental Congress, June 14, 1777Our office secured a significant victory this month when Judge Robert Otte rejected a lawsuit challenging Nebraska’s requirement for schools to allow time for students to recite the pledge of allegiance. Pledging allegiance to our flag is much more than a simple recitation. As we raise our hands to our hearts in a momentary act of unity, we are reminded that Americans are the unique benefactors of the forefathers’ dream of a “more perfect union.”
More than two hundred years ago, our young nation adopted the hallowed star-spangled banner as a symbol of our unity and freedom. The “new constellation” - 13 colonies coming together - prospered under those broad stripes and bright stars. And, throughout the world, our flag has become a symbol of America, representing our people and the ideals we share.
Since the early days of our republic, the flag flew over the land during times of peace and prosperity and through periods of war and turmoil. Soldiers have carried our flag into battle, proudly fighting beneath this emblem of freedom and democracy.
Each year, hundreds of thousands swear to uphold the duties of American citizenship before it. Just as it once united 13 colonies into one nation, today the flag of the United States of America continues to bring us together—under God, indivisible.
In 1782, Congress ascribed meaning to the red, white and blue emblazoned upon our flag. White signified purity and innocence; red, hardiness and valor; and blue, vigilance and perseverance. As the heirs of such principles, Americans share the responsibility of ensuring their continuity.
We must educate our children about the sacrifices made by the generations before them, so they may better understand the price paid for their freedom. And, as we pause to pledge allegiance, we know our nation will continue to be a beacon of hope throughout the world and remain a promise of freedom to every citizen here at home.
Jon Bruning is the Nebraska Attorney General.