"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Each morning at the beginning of the first period class, we recite the pledge of allegiance with our hand over our heart to show our devotion, loyalty and love for the flag and our country as a whole. Although now, more often than not, it seems we recite the pledge out of habit and chore rather than out of renewed devotion and unity.
Our forefathers came to this country to escape the bondage of Europe and the ruling of a king. They came to seek a better life and opportunity for themselves and their posterity: a chance to have a different and better life, a new form of government. To establish a democracy where the people have the power and the right to choose what and who they will follow. To create a country that was united in its effort to stand strong and to keep its independence.
As a very young nation compared to many others in the world, America has struggled and has been through many hard and challenging times. Some have been violent, others destructive; most came with loss. Loss of our fellow Americans -- people with families and friends, people who had jobs and homes, people with so much life and opportunity. Taken from us -- our families and friends, neighbors and coworkers, taken so quickly and so unjustly.
Just in my lifetime alone there has been much tragedy, such as the unforgettable and terrible day when the twin towers fell. Even then, on that day of much suffering, our country came together to help and support. To lend a shoulder to cry on, volunteering to help with the search for survivors and cleaning up after all the destruction.
The most recent tragic event was the bombing of the historic Boston Marathon on April 15. Forever will we remember that day, the day that three people were killed and hundreds of others were injured. The day where fear and panic spread throughout the whole country. The day to remember a tragedy that came upon us.
Nevertheless we will also remember that we came together. As one nation. We got up and stood strong. Supporting each other, helping each other. We saw complete strangers helping with medical assistance and others turning in any photos or video footage they had from the event. Anything that could possibly help catch the men that had done this evil act, all the while standing together, comforting, showing respect to all those who were injured and who lost their lives.
People also left memorials at the site, showing the rest of the world and all those people who try to tear us down with violence and terrorism that we will rise up again. We cannot fall, no matter what. Because through all of this we are a united nation that stands strong and true in the face of adversity.
We must learn from this horrendous act. We must remember that in times of trial, hurt and loss we need to come together to help each other. No matter how bad it might get or how dark and gloomy life may seem there will always be something good not too far off in the future.
We must never let our determination and courage fall. In times like these we may think that we need some type of superhero to come and save us from the bad guys, but in all reality we can become the heroes that can save each other. We don't need any kind of supernatural strength, speed or fancy costume with a cape. All we need is someone who is willing to help, amd is willing to take a stand, against the evil acts happenning among us today.
Brynn Whaley is a sophomore at Syracuse High School. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.