THE PLEDGE - November 9, 2006
Tuesday was Election Day--a freedom that has been gained
for us by many who served in our Armed Services. It is such a small
service that we can give in appreciation
If you were not eligible to vote this time, make a
decision to register before Dec. 1, so you can thank a veteran and take
part in the government of our people.
I read the following remarks from Sen. John McCain that
will help me remember the kind of sacrifice that has been made in my
The Pledge of Allegiance - remarks by Sen. 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 U.S. Navy. He later earned a commission by going to
Officer Training School. 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 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
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
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
God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”