Deeds Not Words

Robert - Toronto, Canada
Entered on October 26, 2008

I am an outcast as I sit in morning assembly. The sharp black uniform contrasts my from the rest of the school which wears a dark green. There are 8 other black dots amongst the crowd. In the corner near the door of the auditorium I sit waiting. The motion is given by our principal and the student population of De La Salle Collage “Oaklands” stands up. A drum roll is played on a single snare and my hand snaps up touching the corner of my brow in salute. The small 6 piece band made up of students start playing “O Canada!”; a group of girls begin chattering away under the anthem. I try to sing but the conversation about some brand of clothing draws my mind away. I stand rigid. Annoyed, I wonder if it’s worth it: polishing my boots, ironing my pants, putting up with stupid comments from the rest of the students, and only having eight others who shared this daily routine. And still, I could not help but feel a sense of injustice and disrespect as I made the effort to honor my nation by saluting her anthem, this group of girls couldn’t find a patriotic bone in their body to sing or at least stand in a respective silence. Was it worth it? The anthem finished and the school sat down. “Any announcements?” my principal inquired. I felt a tap on my shoulder, “Why do you do that?” a grade five boy asked. “Do what?” I responded. “Salute.” He said. “Oh!” I responded, “To show respect for Canada, I disarm my self.” “Cool” he replied. His attention turned back toward the principal. It had become clear me, if one person has bettered themselves from my example, it will all be worth it… I never saw that boy ever talk during the national anthem to this day.