It has been a tough year for religious leaders in the battle over the separation of church and state. One court tried to remove the phrase "In God We Trust" from the Pledge of Allegiance. Another did remove the Ten Commandments from a courthouse. But the same separation of church and state does allow student-lead professions of faith. And thousands, all over East Texas, took advantage Wednesday morning.
At Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler, five students stood up before the sun did and began to play music on guitars and bongos. Then dozens more joined in, singing in the sunrise. They met at the flag pole in the center of campus, their faith mirrored in the music, their hopes whispered in prayers for family, school, community, and country.
Sophmore Andrew Mason says for him, the morning was about, "Hope. Just faith that I get to worship and He'll help me throughout the days through thick and thin." For Freshman Sarah Spitz, it was about belonging. "When we assemble together, and come to worship together, you feel like other people understand you better." But, Senior Jammeshia Burges believes the event is as important for the students who weren't involved as it was for the participants. "Just to see the commitment, people coming up at 7:00 in the morning to praise the lord. I'm sure they're going to see something different about us. I just hope that the same way we're acting here, we can act in the classroom so they'll know there's definately a difference in us."
This is the thirteenth year for the "See You at the Pole" prayer day. It started in a suburb of Ft. Worth back in 1990, and has since spread to all fifty states.