Politicians Refuse To Stand For Pledge Of Allegiance

Standing at attention when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited has been common since it was first written. More recently, it has served as a litmus test when attempting to gauge the patriotism of certain individuals, especially those in the public arena, such as politicians. That belief can sometimes be at odds with people who are seeking either a more objective standard or believe that it should be connected to a wider purpose.

On March 17, 2014 at a city council meeting in Hampden, Maine, a minor controversy erupted when two councilmen refusing to stand as the Pledge was recited. Prior to the recitation, the town’s mayor, Carol Duprey, indicated that the Pledge was to honor those individuals who put their lives on the line for the United States. Both of the councilmen, Thomas Brann and William Shakepeare, served in the military, with Brann, a veteran of the Vietnam War, indicating that the Pledge, is to honor all Americans who support the Constitution.

Focusing strictly on those in the military was too restrictive, according to Brann, who said that he would willingly stand if the phrase in question was dropped. Shakespeare concurred with Brann’s belief, calling the request “ludicrous,” while also pointing out that he had served in the military for more than 30 years before retiring. The town manager for Hampden, Susan Lessard, indicated that no disciplinary action would be taken against the pair, saying that both men had the right to decline participating in the extercise.

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