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  • Writer's pictureMariaelena Comaroto

I Pledge Allegiance to the STOP Sign.

al·le·giance /əˈlējəns/ Learn to pronounce


  1. loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a group or cause.

(For the record.)

Last evening I did something new. I went out for a walk with my dog, like always, except this time it had been two hours since the sun had set. Yes, I went for a walk in the dark. By myself. With Finley. And guess what? It actually turned out to be far more scary than even I could have imagined.

It was a beautiful night. I brought my binoculars so that I could try to catch a closer look at the moon. Finley and I found ourselves seated on the bleachers at a park near our house. Between moon gazing and grooming the dog I spent a lovely five minutes.

Until. Well, it was pretty dark out both because of no street lights and a beautiful moon in her early stages. Even though I'm known to be very hard to distract when I'm focusing, I am always taken by the light. And so I looked up and saw a car approaching. The STOP sign.

I watched the car. Keep going. Completely ignoring the STOP sign. My first thought was my daughter. I coach her as she learns to drive. How would I handle this? I went back to the moon to think. Meanwhile, every so often I would be taken by another set of lights. And I would just watch. Some pauses. Some honest attempts. Fair. I get it.

But too many NO STOPS to stay calm. On our walk home I wondered what I would tell my daughters about this? Would I warn them. Continue to teach them about the crucial necessity of defensive and alert driving all because in our country a STOP sign has become a suggestion, if that? Yes, I will mention it.

But I will mention to you too what I noticed. And I will insist that until everyone who calls themselves a citizen of this country can't have the decency, pride and honor to pledge allegiance to our STOP signs, I will continue reminding you. In different ways, on different days.

It is a sad moment to see how a country built on a foundation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can have become so blind, so narrow, so lost. And then we wipe our tears, and we get up and we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. And we try harder. We try smarter. We try calmer. But we try. Because that's what we do as Americans.

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