Letters to the Editor

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A recent Facebook post showed an image of some elementary school students, hands over hearts, with a caption indicating that the school was “forcing them to stand during the National Anthem.” Readers were asked to “share if you think this is a good idea.” If this does not bother you on some level, perhaps it should. If they were “forced” to stand, it is logical to assume that anyone who refused was punished in some way.

Since when does it represent “freedom to believe as one wishes” when one is “forced” to do something that is against their belief? For example, you can “encourage” one to become a Christian by setting an example and giving him reason to consider it. But you cannot “force” someone to become a Christian. If you demonstrate why Americans should be proud of our flag, children will usually respond positively and will want to participate in a pledge or anthem.

While I was serving in the military in Southeast Asia, we were “forced” to donate to a major charity drive. Anyone who declined had to “police the grounds and pick up cigarette butts.” I donated because I was “forced” to do so but I’ve not donated to that charity since. I fly the flag and stand during the National Anthem because I choose to do so. But I also served this country so that anyone could “choose” not to do so. When you “dictate” how people should believe, you become a “dictatorship.”

Bill Hedrick

Kilgore, Texas

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