Elementary School Kids Say Keep "Under God"

( [email protected] ) Mar 27, 2004 10:54 AM EST

Local elementary school students from California and Massachusetts recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day and they are looking forward to continue reciting with the phrase “under God.”

In defense of the pledge, Sundale Union Elementary School’s club – Students With a Testimony (SWAT) is leading a mini-rally to gain support in keeping the pledge as it is. The rally was organized by the students and they are gathering signatures from people in the town.

Sundale Union Elementary School eighth-grader Krystalyn Kurz who belongs to SWAT, is one of the students who don’t want the words “under God” to be taken out from the pledge.

"We haven't had anybody say 'no' [to signing the petition]," Kurz said.

She said reciting pledge is not mandatory that those who don’t wish to speak the phrase “under God” don’t have to partake in reciting the pledge. She said she wants to ask the man who has sued to eliminate the phrase “under God,” “to pray and get close to God -- even if he doesn't believe in Him.”

Brenda Allender, SWAT club advisor, said she was proud to see the students get involved with current events.

"It didn't surprise me," she said. "They're an active group. They not only have an open mind, they also have a good heart for God. They want to make a difference."

At Lowell’s Gertrude M. Bailey International School in Lowell Sun, MA, students recite the pledge every morning and many of them also want to keep the pledge with the phrase “under God.”

"The words 'under God,' what do they really mean" It's a nation under God. I think they should keep 'under God' in there. It's important because when you say the pledge of allegiance, it means you say it as one nation under God," said Bede.

"They shouldn't take it out," said Kevin Cruz, 10. "It would bother some people for that to happen. Some people think of it as a prayer, but it really is not."

"The pledge is great," said 10-year-old Christine Long. "It makes me remember about the Civil War and stuff. And the Fourth of July, too."

The "under God" is "good," she added. "It's important, an important part of our country."

"It's a way to respect the United States and the people who died for us," said Gabriel Reyes. "And respect God. My family believes in God. I think, leave it in."

Jose Correa, 10, said he thinks about the people who fight for the freedom of America. He said, "The flag is like a hobby. You could do the pledge any time you want to. I mean, I do it at home even when there's a snow day. At home in the morning. It's important for us to bless God for the flag and think about the red, white and blue."

Justin Guziejka's thinks about the world when he recites the pledge. "I pretty much think about the bad stuff that goes on in the world. People trying to suicide themselves. And the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking their lives. I pray for them, and I'm thankful," he said, "They should leave 'under God' in. That's pretty much part of the whole thing. I mean, the pledge would pretty much be gone."

According to state law, the pledge is recited daily in public schools, but those who so choose are free not to say it.

"We respect everybody," says Bailey Principal Mary Ann McCarthy. "No one has to say it. But we want them to be respectful of those who do choose to say it."