September 24, 2020 - Issue: Vol. 166, No. 166 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 2nd Session
EXPRESSING SUPPORT FOR THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 166
(Senate - September 24, 2020)
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[Pages S5846-S5847] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] EXPRESSING SUPPORT FOR THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE Mr. BRAUN. Madam President, in 2002, 18 years ago, Senator Tom Daschle raised a similar resolution--a resolution on the importance of the Pledge of Allegiance. With unanimous support in the U.S. Senate, it passed on the floor uneventfully and without amendment. This body can choose to do the same today--to reaffirm our support for the Pledge of Allegiance. I also rise to honor a Hoosier who understood the innate value of the Pledge of Allegiance to civic education. In 1969, Red Skelton, an American comedian and entertainer who was well known for his program on CBS, ``The Red Skelton Hour,'' wrote a speech on the importance of the pledge. In reflecting on his time in Vincennes, IN, he wanted to talk about how important the value instilled by it is still applicable today. After the performance of his speech, CBS received 200,000 requests for copies. His speech would go on to be sold as a single by Columbia Records and performed at the White House. I think it would be an honor to repeat this, and I will do so after yielding the floor to my colleague, Senator Scott from Florida. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Fischer). The Senator from Florida. Mr. SCOTT of Florida. First of all, I thank my colleague, my friend from Indiana, for his absolute commitment of trying to make an impact on what is going on in Washington. We both came up here at the same time, and I have enjoyed working with him every day. I had the opportunity to pursue the American dream. I got involved in politics because I saw that dream slipping away for far too many. All Americans should have their shots at living their versions of the American dream. For me, I grew up poor. I never met my biological father. My adopted father was a busdriver, with only a sixth grade education, who did all four combat jumps with the 82nd Airborne in World War II. We lived in public housing. Even though my mom had no money, she was optimistic and hopeful. She told us we were blessed because God and our Founders created the greatest country ever, where anything was possible. Unfortunately, the left has worked hard over the last 50 years to discredit the values of the America I was raised with and the values of the America I want my grandchildren to grow up with. Central to those values is faith and family. The Pledge of Allegiance explicitly acknowledges that our Creator is central to this American experiment. Unfortunately, the left is trying to undo the foundational principles of this country. The left railed against our soldiers during the Vietnam war and is calling to defund our law enforcement. The left discredits those who believe in a supreme being or the commitment of marriage, and it doesn't place value in family. The left doesn't care about our enormous debt and pushes for socialism. The left thinks it is OK that our schools don't teach about the Founding Fathers or free markets and wants you to think America was never great. We all acknowledge that Americans, our country, and our institutions have flaws, but the left has worked to discredit our Founders, our institutions, our churches, our law enforcement, our morals, and almost everything my mom taught me. Yet we join today to honor the Pledge of Allegiance, the very spirit of our Nation--``one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'' That is the America I, along with my colleagues here, are fighting for. The values that I grew up with--the ones my ``tough love'' mom taught me--are becoming a way of the past, but I believe these values, these virtues, can and should be part of our country's future. I love it when my grandchildren pray before eating, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, ask to visit military museums, thank police officers and soldiers for their service, and place their hands over their hearts when they hear the national anthem. I hope they memorize the Declaration of Independence and the 23rd Psalm. We will not give up on the American dream and a nation where anything is possible. We will not let the radical left take away our freedom and opportunity. Again, I thank Senator Braun for leading this effort today. Freedom is fleeting and worth fighting for, and we will not stop fighting for the country I was raised in because that is the country our children and our grandchildren deserve I yield to Senator Braun. Mr. BRAUN. Madam President, I thank Senator Scott. The emphasis on faith, family, community, freedom, liberty, and equal opportunity is what makes this country great. We can never forget it, for it is embedded in the Pledge of Allegiance. I return now to reading the point of view from Red Skelton. This is in terms of his recollection when he was a kid back in Vincennes, IN. He begins: I heard, I think, one of the most outstanding speeches I have ever heard in my life. I think it compares with the ``Sermon on the Mount,'' Lincoln's ``Gettysburg Address,'' and Socrates' speech to the students. We had just finished reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and he [Mr. Laswell, the principal of Vincennes High School] called us all together, and he says, ``Uh, boys and girls, I have been listening to you recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester, and it seems that it has become monotonous to you. Or, could it be, you do not understand the meaning of each word? If I may, I would like to recite the pledge, and give you a definition for each word.'' I saw this many years ago myself, and when I looked at the video again, I [[Page S5847]] thought it would behoove everyone to listen to his own words back when he did it on CBS. I--Me; an individual, a committee of one. Pledge--Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity. Allegiance--My love and my devotion. To the Flag--Our standard. ``Old Glory''; a symbol of courage. And wherever she waves, there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts ``Freedom is everybody's job.'' of the United--That means we have all come together. States--Individual communities that have united into 48 great states; 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose; all divided by imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common cause, and that's love of country-- Of America. And to the Republic--A Republic: A sovereign state in which power is invested into the representatives chosen by the people to govern; and the government is the people, and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people. For which it stands. One Nation--Meaning ``so blessed by God.'' [Under God] Indivisible--Incapable of being divided. With liberty--Which is freedom; the right of power for one to live his [or her] own life without fears, threats, or any sort of retaliation. And Justice--The principle and qualities of dealing fairly with others. For All--That means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine. Afterward, Mr. Laswell asked his students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance together, with a newfound appreciation and reinvigoration for the words: ``I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'' Mr. Skelton concluded his speech by saying: Since I was a small boy, two States have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: ``Under God.'' Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said, ``That is a prayer''--and that be eliminated from our schools, too? Just as those students that day, Mr. Red Skelton included, recommitted to the meaning of the words of the Pledge of Allegiance, I call upon the U.S. Senate to recommit to the meaning of these words. There are times today that the words of the pledge are tossed around without too much care. Other times, they are altered to remove what today is deemed offensive or antiquated, but Americans should not misuse or abuse the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge is meant to remind Americans of our guiding principles and inspire adherence to those ideas which make our country great: equality under the law and recognized rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Madam President, as if in legislative session, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the consideration of S. Res. 715, submitted earlier today. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the resolution by title. The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows: A resolution (S. Res. 715) expressing support for the Pledge of Allegiance. There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution. Mr. BRAUN. I ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is so ordered. The resolution (S. Res. 715) was agreed to. The preamble was agreed to. (The resolution, with its preamble, is printed in today's Record under ``Submitted Resolutions.'') Mr. BRAUN. I yield the floor. ____________________