Standing on Chamberlain Bridge and looking at Independence Arch, I began reading the Barbadian Pledge. Instantly my brain goes to each school morning when students stand and say the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. Both symbolize a promise of loyalty to a nation represented by a flag, but why do humans feel the need to align to a specific political entity and profess this allegiance to others? I have come to the conclusion that it is a mixture of pride, identity, and competition. Barbados and the United States achieved independence from Great Britain, and the pledge shows the pride in being a separate nation. It was a way for citizens to define themselves different from the previous identity connected to Europe. Even though neither pledge was written or established in the immediate time after independence, both wanted to create an identity that links the people of their nation within a very connected world.

Humans are also innately competitive, and whenever there is a competition one team/nation links themselves to symbols. Both the flag design and pledge of Barbados were even created as part of competitions. Pride and identity represented in the pledge and flag carry over to the numerous international competitions such as the Olympics and the World Cup. The emotion seen at sporting events of the 21st century are intense. Some may see this competition as divisive among people, but I feel the pride for a nation shown through say the pledge or waving a flag as a human trait carried throughout the world. There is disagreement over when to say a pledge or if a person should say the pledge at all, but this belief in choosing an identity to be proud of is one shared by humankind.

– Elizabeth Mulcahy (Social Studies Teacher)