Coast Students Participate In Synchronized Pledge

They paused in courtyards, cafeterias and in their classrooms. At one o'clock sharp Friday, students stood up, placed their hands to their hearts, and made a special pledge of allegiance to the American flag.

Hong Nguyen is a ninth grader at Michel Jr. High in Biloxi. She's glad to be able to say it with the whole nation, especially with the whole school. She says it's nice to see a group gathered to say the pledge together.

Michael Cowart says it shows the whole nation is together, and everyone is coming together for one reason -- to try and stop terrorism in our country. Reciting the pledge used to be a normal, everyday morning routine at school. But now, the words have a more patriotic and emotional meaning.

Jessica Simmons is a fourth grader at Gautier Elementary. She says because of what happened on September 11th, she feels kind of sad when she says the pledge now. She thinks about the thousands of people who died in the attacks, and it's just different now.

Michael Cowart says he used to say the pledge everyday, without thinking about it. Now, when he sees that everyone is coming together, he really starts to think about the meaning of the flag. Cowart says it's a symbol of freedom and unity.

The students hope the synchronized salute to the flag will send a unified message to the world that they are loyal Americans. Mimi Ta is a fifth grader at Second St. Elementary in Bay St. Louis. She says she feels a little bit sad when she was saying the pledge, but at the same time, she felt very respectful to the victims of the attacks. She's really glad that students got together and did it.

During the pledge ceremony at Gautier Elementary, the school announced it has raised $750 in the "Pennies from the Heart Campaign." Students donated their spare change to the fund raiser. The check will be sent to the firefighters in New York.

By: Trang Pham-Bui