Westhampton Beach High School student Kylah Avery wrote to Newsday...

Westhampton Beach High School student Kylah Avery wrote to Newsday about her decision to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance after a video recorded of her went viral on TikTok. Credit: AFP via Getty Images/OLIVIER DOULIERY

I was very impressed with the op-ed "Why I sat for the Pledge of Allegiance" and by the young woman who wrote it [Opinion, April 13]. The pledge is only meaningful when it is not rattled off while on "automatic pilot," and though some people view it as a true "pledge" to the country, it is a bunch of words that are virtually meaningless if they are not supported by reality. The phrase "with liberty and justice for all" is not based on the realities of life in this country where the idea of justice for all is a blatant absurdity.

How could a young woman who has experienced the truth about life in this country as an African American and Native American honestly feel any connection to this concept, which has never been true for the nearly 250 years of this country’s existence?

We should give young people an America that would be worthy of a Pledge of Allegiance. Instead, this is a country obviously struggling with these concepts, a country where political allegiance is all that matters. Without thoughtful citizens like the young lady who wrote this essay who are unafraid to point out our flaws as a country, we will lose voices of conscience and truth.

Elliot Schwartz, Holbrook

Kudos to Kylah Avery, a sophomore at Westhampton Beach High School, for her courageous stand and her op-ed explaining why she refused to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

She has obviously learned to be a critical thinker who no longer swallows the lies and propaganda which pass for American "history" in many schools and in most corporate media. As she correctly and wisely wrote, "Forced allegiance and patriotism is not and will never be true allegiance and patriotism."

Such courage, excellent critical thinking and clear-eyed writing in such a relatively young person give me hope for our nation’s future. I say to her: "You go, young woman!"

Ed Ciaccio, Douglaston

I take issue with some of Kylah Avery’s contradictory points of view. Perhaps today’s students don’t get the history lessons they should.

Liberty is freedom, and almost everyone in the United States is free. Yes, justice can be subjective, but no other country comes closer to justice equality than America. No country is perfect, but the greatness of America is the progress it makes.

In North Korea, if you don’t stand, they put you in jail. No one forced her to stand. A god is the central figure in all religions, not just Christianity. The instant-gratification-entitled generation should realize the only promise America makes is the promise of equality for everyone who wants to seize opportunity.

Ironic, isn’t it, that she complains of being muffled, but here she is, in the largest newspaper on Long Island telling us how horrible our country is. Is that muffled?

Look at history; look around the world. There is more to celebrate about America than to condemn. If it’s not perfect, then go out and do your best to improve it. That’s an opportunity America has given you and everyone.

Tim Gallagher, Seaford

Regarding Kylah Avery’s stance on the Pledge of Allegiance, my wife, Marge, and I salute her for her courage, forthrightness and dedication to the principles on which our country was founded.

Peter Rogatz, Port Washington

I give credit to Kylah Avery, who stated why she sat for the Pledge of Allegiance. She should understand that the flag represents our country.

When we go to war, the American flag, not the Constitution, is on the arms of our soldiers. On Iwo Jima, they raised the flag, not the Constitution. The flag represents all of what this country means, both the good and that which could be improved.

Without the allegiance to our flag and that which it stands for, you and those who think like you would not be able to stand or express opinions. Just look at people like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx/ Queens), who seems to feel that those who do not agree with her need re-education.

Appreciate what we have and bless your mother and God you were born here.

Samuel Mark, West Hempstead

I applaud Kylah Avery’s beautifully written explanation of why she chose to sit for the Pledge of Allegiance. I, too, objected when confronted by this daily ritual when I reached high school. I stood then as I still do, but say my own version of the Pledge.

I compliment her mother for raising her daughter with the courage of her convictions. It bodes well for our future.

Valerie Schroeder, Wading River

Concerning "Uproar after student stays seated for pledge" [News, April 10], I was disgusted by Superintendent Michael Radday stating that students have the right to express themselves and should be able to do so without judgment.

The First Amendment works both ways. People have the right to disagree with what another person tries to preach as their truth. Students are in school to learn and be directed on how to become civil.

Is it too little to ask to teach a little respect for the flag of this beautiful country that everyone is trying to enter? This young person lists her complaints about how the country is forcing her to act civilly and respectfully of the teachings of our republic with which she has a disagreement.

She should be in the shoes of the young people on our southern border who walk hundreds of miles to enter this country.

This country is being destroyed by politicians and the media who are constantly arguing about who’s right and what’s true. This is causing division and disrespect for our laws and our nation’s symbols.

John Malesko, Shirley

Editor’s note: The writer is a U.S. Navy veteran.

Kylah Avery — what an exceptional young woman. I commend her for her courage, her clarity and her brilliant mind. Peaceful protesters, especially when they sit or kneel alone, are truly courageous and indeed . . . peaceful.

Cheryl Ferris, Long Beach

Editor’s note: We received multiple letters on this topic, and the views selected are in proportion to the submissions received.

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