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Letter to the Editor: Standing for Patriotism

A large flag hangs at the entrance of Pascack Valley High School.

Kyle Comito

A large flag hangs at the entrance of Pascack Valley High School.

Michael Mugno, Pascack Valley student

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I honestly cannot believe that I have to write this article. We are living in a time where patriotism is at an almost all-time low, and it’s more than a shame. Everyone is taking their differences to heart, and rarely does anybody get the whole story on major events. Everything is biased, as much as that’s hard to believe. But, before I get into anything political, I have to finish the statement I have started in the title.

I stand for my great-great uncles who fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. One of them fought in all three. I stand for a very good friend of mine who is serving his third tour in the Middle East for the US Navy. He joined after 9/11 and is currently collecting intelligence on the front lines in a classified area. I stand for my uncle Mike and my cousin Jimmy, who were both police officers for many years, and my great uncle Jimmy who was a firefighter for just as long.

The list of specifics on who I stand for could go on for many, many pages, but that would just be boring after a while, wouldn’t it? The point is, I stand for every hero who has protected our freedoms, from the Revolution all the way to today. Firefighters, police officers, first responders, military men and women, and anyone who has bravely risked or given their lives for my freedom, your freedom, and every American’s freedom.

I stand for every hero who has protected our freedoms, from the Revolution all the way to today.”

— Michael Mugno

It really is a shame that there are students in our school who don’t understand what our beautiful flag stands for. It amazes me that some would back Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers and the Miami Dolphins players who don’t understand what our flag stands for. That is not protesting– that’s plain ignorance. There are millions of ways to protest and show your support for what you believe. You have every right to protest as you please, but this is more than disrespectful, it’s enraging. Mr. Kaepernick, how about you donate some of the millions of dollars you make to the cause you so strictly protest for? How about you take a page from the book of the Seattle Seahawks, who stood arm-in-arm and proudly and loudly sang our beautiful National Anthem to show that no matter what race they were, they accepted each other and displayed unity. That is a statement that resonates profoundly with everyone, from diehard NFL fans to people who don’t know who Peyton Manning is. He didn’t “start a debate;” he basically started a war of words, one that has ripped our patriotism to shreds.

Police Brutality is an issue in this country, yes. There will always be bad apples in every profession, whether it be banking, stockbroking, salespeople, teachers, athletes, scientists, and in this instance, policemen and women. As much as we can try, they will always seep into the system. But, what about the other 99.5% of policemen and women who do what they are supposed to every day, protecting all of us and bringing justice to the bad citizens (or non-citizens) in our country? Why can groups like Black Lives Matter get away with calling all policemen and women “pigs”, calling for them to all die or get rid of policing all together? These groups, and the people who back them, just want chaos in this country. And how dare you call a policeman who does the right thing every second he is on the job a “pig”. It’s enraging. Should brutality come to an end? That’s not even a question. 150 years later, this needs to end. But don’t refuse to stand for our country because of a few bad apples.

Recently, I’ve seen “stats” on TV that supposedly show that our country is racist. That our country is not the best to live in the world. How can you use a number to describe the best country in the world? Patriotism cannot be measured by an outsider poll, or a “quality of life study.” How can you say that our country is not the best because of our traffic congestion, our average home salary, and our health care costs? That’s ridiculous. Numbers aren’t the whole world, so stop acting like they are. You just can not put a number on love for country.

I know this article will not change the minds of those who sit. But I wanted to voice the opinion of everybody else in this school who stand in pride for our country. To change the words of Mr. Spock of Star Trek for our purposes, “The voices of the many outweigh the voices of the few.” So why are we being quiet? Show your pride to be an American. Stand for that Pledge, and instead of lazily going along with what we repeat every day, think about what our flag stands for.  Think about what I just stated. And maybe, slowly, the patriotism in our school will be back to how it should be in America. 9/11 was just a few days ago, and the fact that I have to write this so close to the day that our fellow classmates lost loved ones is sickening. You cannot even give respect to those who lost their family and friends on that day? Sitting for the Pledge the day after the anniversary of such a horrific event is like saying you don’t even care that fellow Americans died. It should be embarrassing.

Show your pride to be an American. Stand for that Pledge, and instead of lazily going along with what we repeat every day, think about what our flag stands for. ”

— Michael Mugno

If you want change so badly, then do something more productive than sitting. It’s causing unnecessary tension in this school and is getting this problem nowhere. Go into the inner cities and help out at a food pantry, or help with after-school activities. Not only would you get valuable community service hours, you would make an impact on the people you so desperately want to get out of this loop. I, as well as the rest of the school, would applaud you for being such a good person and raising awareness the correct way.

One who sits for our country can say they are not disrespecting anyone. But really, you are. The Stars and Stripes are really a beautiful sight, and it should instantly make you think of your freedom, your right for a pursuit of happiness, and the men and women who protected you from death by the evil forces that constantly haunt us, trying at every turn to kill us all. Our flag is sacred, and every American should be proud to salute it every day. For you are living in the most special country the world has ever seen.

To all of those with family members who serve in the military, police force, firefighting force, or bravely protect our freedom, thank them for me, for you, and even for those who sit.

God Bless America, Stars and Stripes Forever.

 

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Pascack Valley High School's Official News Site: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
Letter to the Editor: Standing for Patriotism