I Pledge Allegiance (2 page)

BOOK: I Pledge Allegiance
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My teacher points to one of the words.

“In-di-vis-i-ble,” she says. “It’s a big word. It means that there are fifty states, but we are all one country.”

After school, my teacher gives my great-aunt a big congratulations hug.

On the way home, I tell Lobo that my class is practicing the Pledge all week. “On Thursday, I will have to say it in front of everyone!” I say. “I’m a little nervous.”

“Let’s practice together,” she says, and squeezes my hand.

At home, Lobo and I help Mom make enchiladas. Mom says, “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday … Friday—a special day.”

“Ready to practice, Lobo?” I ask after dinner.

Lobo reads the Pledge, and then she and I say it together for Mom and my kitten, Gloria, my gatita:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Lobo and I practice again on Tuesday night.

“When we say the Pledge at school, we stand very straight, like a tree,” I tell her. “We put our right hand over our heart. My teacher says the Pledge of Allegiance is very special. It’s a promise you make with your heart.”

“I like the words ‘liberty and justice for all,’ ” says Lobo. “We are promising to be fair to everyone. This country is like one big family, una familia, that works together to take care of people who need our help. That is what America did for me.”

On Wednesday night, Lobo and I say the Pledge in front of my stuffed animals. They are very good students. I like being the teacher. Tomorrow, I will say the Pledge in front of the whole class.

“Time for bed,” says Mom.

I ask Lobo to tuck me in and tell me a story, un cuento. I like Lobo’s stories. “Why do you want to be a citizen?” I ask.

“Mi querida, I was born in Mexico and went to school there, but the United States has been my home for many years. I am proud to be from Mexico and to speak Spanish and English. Many people are proud of the places where they were born or where they grew up.-

“But a long time ago, when I was a young girl, my father wanted a safer place for us to grow up, and we came to the United States. The American flag—red, white, and blue—wrapped itself around me to protect me.”

Lobo tucks my blanket around me.

“The flag made me feel like this,” she says. “Safe and warm.”

Lobo smiles and kisses my forehead.

“You will do just fine tomorrow,” she says.

BOOK: I Pledge Allegiance
13.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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