45 words define how the citizens of the United States can express themselves. Those words are located in the First Amendment of the constitution which refers to the right to practice one’s own religion, speak one’s voice freely, peacefully assemble, petition for what one believes in and express one’s self in the media.
In recent years, free speech and the right to petition were used in a controversial way. There are some people choosing not to stand during the national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance. They choose to remain seated or kneel. Multiple movements have been credited throughout the progression of these political statements.
“The Black Lives Matter movement along with Colin Kaepernick were my two main driving forces [to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance],” senior Symone Henderson said.
Henderson credited her silent protest to the influence of Black Lives Matter, a movement campaigning against violence and racism towards African-Americans, and Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem before his National Football League games to protest the shootings of African-American men and to respect those who serve the country. Black Lives Matter and Kaepernick both influenced Henderson to protest in a way that many people agree with.
A person who disagrees with protesting the national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, Boy Scout and freshman Zachary Klemm, thinks that sitting during the anthem is against the purpose of the event. Klemm and two other scouts participated in the Veteran’s Day ceremony by presenting and retiring the American flags.
“It’s disrespectful on Veteran’s Day,” Klemm said. “Not many people know what to do during the event, but mainly standing for the national anthem or the pledge is good.”
Antioch Community High School hosted a Veteran’s Day ceremony where the national anthem was played and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. The assembly was held in honor of the veterans living in and from Antioch. During this event, however, even the people who protest these two honorable songs were standing.
Whether citizens of the United States and in turn ACHS, choose to sit, stand or kneel during acts of patriotism, each decision practices an element of the First Amendment. Everyone has a choice, to stand and show respect for America or to sit or kneel for a cause.