(Senate - September 24, 2020)

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[Pages S5846-S5847]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
       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 
       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 
  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.