I remember saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school. I recall learning it so that it could be said by heart, but I don’t remember exactly when and I don’t recall much about the school room where we all learned it. While working on our upcoming Bill of Rights Project, I met Mako Nakagawa. She is a past president of the Seattle Chapter of the Japanese Americans Citizens League. She supported the redress efforts on behalf of the 27 school clerks who were forced to resign from the Seattle Public Schools in 1942 just because they were of Japanese ancestry. Can you imagine how that must have made them feel? Currently she facilitates workshops for teachers and students on the Japanese American experience during World War II.
I would ask all of us to try and remember when and where you learned the Pledge of Allegiance. And then close your eyes and picture this: Mako Nakagawa learned the Pledge of Allegiance as a 5 year old from behind barbed wire, with armed US soldiers keeping a watchful eye on her.