"To Pledge...Or not to Pledge"
There is no question

 

In light of the recent appeals court ruling in California, with
respect to the Pledge of Allegiance, the following recollection from
Senator John McCain is very appropriate:.
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   "The Pledge of Allegiance - Senator John McCain
 
   From a speech made by Capt. John S. McCain, US, (Ret) who
represents Arizona in the U.S. Senate:
 
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   As you may know, I spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war
during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA
kept us in solitary confinement or two or three to a cell.  In 1971 the
NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with
Singlestar.gif (3874 bytes)as many as 30 to 40 men to a room.
   This was, as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct
   result of the efforts of millions of Americans on behalf of a few
hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home.
 
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   One of the men who moved into my room was a young man

named Mike Christian. Singlestar.gif (3874 bytes)
Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama.
He didn't weara pair of shoes until he was 13 years old.
Singlestar.gif (3874 bytes) At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy.
He later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School.
Then he became a Naval Flight Officer and
   was shot down and captured in 1967. Mike had a keen and deep
appreciation of the opportunities this country and our military provide
for people who want to work and want to succeed.
 
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   As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some
prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of these packages were
handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing. Mike got himself a
bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an
American flag and sewed on the inside of his shirt.
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Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup,
we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and
Singlestar.gif (3874 bytes)say the Pledge of Allegiance.
I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the
most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that
stark cell, it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.
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   One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically,
and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it. That
evening they returned, opened the door of the cell,

and for the benefit of all of us,
beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours.
Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in.

We cleaned him up as well as we could.
The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in
the middle on which we slept.
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Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room.
As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could.
After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room,
and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth,
another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian.
He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating
he had received, making another American flag.
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   He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better.
He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to
be able to Pledge our allegiance to our flag and country.
 
   So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never
forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made
to build our nation and promote freedom around the world. You must
remember Our duty, Our honor, and Our country.
 

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  "
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the republic for which it stands,

one nation under God, indivisible, with
liberty and justice for all."

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