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In light of the recent appeals court ruling in California, with respect to the Pledge

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A Romantic Heart
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0 posted 01-16-2008 02:36 AM       View Profile for A Romantic Heart   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for A Romantic Heart

John McCain's remarks about the Pledge of Allegiance

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:

'The Pledge of Allegiance' - by Senator John McCain

"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 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.

One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian.

Mike came from a small town near Selma , Alabama He didn't wear a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old. 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.

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 it on the inside of his shirt.

Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and 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.

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. 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. 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."

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under G od, indivisable, with liberty and justice for all."

PASS THIS ON... And on... And on! You can even send it back to me, I don't mind, because its worth reading again.
Ringo
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1 posted 01-16-2008 07:05 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

I missed the Senator's remarks before, so I thank you for enlightening us. This is especially timely as I know a 13 yar old who told me that reciting the pledge was childish, and that he shouldn't be forced to act like a kid any more (uh... he is a kid, no  lol), and to a teacher in my daughter's school who also feels that the pledge isn't needed.

Thanks again.

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Ron
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2 posted 01-16-2008 08:25 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I know a 13 yar old who told me that reciting the pledge was childish, and that he shouldn't be forced ...

Forced, Ringo? At that point, I would think it stops being a pledge. At that point doesn't it just become propaganda?
Ringo
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3 posted 01-16-2008 11:26 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Perhaps forced is poor wording on my part.
This young man feels that saying the pledge of allegiance is fine for children; however, once you reach the ripe old teen years, then reciting it is unneccessary and that the school shouldn't make it a part of their morning ritual.
I explain to him that every month, I go and sit in a room with a bunch of grown men and discuss things that we can do for the community, and we start EVERY meeting with the Pledge... as do all ot the local town councils, etc.
One of these days I will realize that I am talking to a teenager, and that I am the stuidest creature on the planet, and that nothing I know s right, and nothing I say is the truth..
Until then....

What would you attempt to do...if you knew you could not fail?.
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ArtSolstice
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4 posted 01-16-2008 04:39 PM       View Profile for ArtSolstice   Email ArtSolstice   Edit/Delete Message     View IP for ArtSolstice

During the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin suggested the US founding fathers begin each day with a prayer to God for guidance. His suggestion was soundly voted down.

Perhaps some of you may know that the original Pledge of Allegiance, an expression of patriotism and not of religious faith, made no mention of God or the United States. It was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a noted Socialist, for Youth's Companion (magazine) to commemorate the nation's first celebration of Columbus Day.  Here’s the original version:

"I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Ringo, I attend those civic meetings once a week also, with all the old guys who sit around figuring out how to do good things for the community, and I say the original pledge of allegiance while everyone else says theirs. I researched this information in 6th grade, when I scandalized my best friend by no longer saying the current version in public school -- and forever.
secondhanddreampoet
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5 posted 01-16-2008 07:05 PM       View Profile for secondhanddreampoet   Email secondhanddreampoet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for secondhanddreampoet

Until today, I have resisted posting in any forums other than the "Open" ones for 'poetry'; However,
I felt absolutely compelled to make two brief entries here...

Apparently there are a very many folk (on this 'P.I.P. site and beyond) who might grandly benefit
from a serious 'read' of even just a few scholarly 'writes' about the original/true ('enlightenment')
'motives and intentions' of the founding fathers pursuant to this 'rare; beautiful (and far more
fragile than we would like to think) thing called a participatory 'representative' Democracy
(of 'Jeffersonian purity)...such as:

"The Assault on Reason" [Al Gore];
"American Creation" [Joseph Ellis];
etc.

[I could list MANY more...but, even just those should suffice]

It's not really about 'god(s), flags, and pledges!'

"Democracy" is a rare and precious (ultimately fragile) thing in the historic record.  
Its demise begins with the 'dumbing down' of a populace (erosion of a 'well informed'
citizenry) that no longer "dares to read, think, speak, and write" (as John Adams put it...
and, I would add: ferret out the facts!) who readily surrender their 'fundamental individual rights'
to the shallow promises of demagogues that exploit their fears and manipulate the political
process simply to achieve their narrow personal agendas; and who offer only simplistic solutions
to the least essential problems and (alleged) 'protection' from nebulous external 'evils' in return.
Some posts in this "Alley" today were (in my opinion) a rather stark and shocking reminder of
how far we have likely slipped in such dangerous directions!

[This message has been edited by secondhanddreampoet (01-16-2008 09:14 PM).]

oceanvu2
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6 posted 01-16-2008 07:42 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Can it be as simple as the flag is a symbol of our nation, God has nothing to do with either, and allegiance to the freedom and democratic aims of our nation are a reasonable expectation of it's citizenry?

Does any of this have to be loaded with either religious or irreligious freight?

If one want's to believe that "God is with us," OK.  If wants to believe that God is not overly selective or concerned with us, OK.  If one wants to believe that there is no God in the first place either to bless or ignore us, OK.

My allegiance is to my nation, as opposed to somebody elses nation.  It's pragmatic and responsible.  Sure, reciting the Pledge is not pro-forma, and evokes an emotional response in me in support of the ideals of my nation, realized or yet to be realized.

That Senator McCain and his fellow prisoners found even momentary surcease from the horrors they endured is a tribute to their strength and will.  If the Pledge, specifically including "under God" helped them out, how can that be faulted?  I suspect their religious beliefs helped to sustain them on a more fundamental level than their nationalism.

If I recall correctly, forum threads have gone down this "under God" issue several times.  It might always be worth looking at again,  but it may not be the major factor in terms of "allegiance."

Best, Jim
 
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