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Daily Pledge ceremony doesn’t instill patriotism

I totally sympathize with John M. Crisp’s piece on the Pledge of Allegiance (“It’s time to scale back rote Pledge recitation,” April 30).

In 1992, our family moved overseas to work when our daughters were 3 and 5. For the next 12 years, they survived just fine in an international school where the Pledge of Allegiance was not said at all. Yet they certainly knew who they were as individuals and as U.S. citizens.

In the late 1990s, they both decided they wanted to go to Girl Scout summer camp while we were on summer home leave. When they found that each day started with a flag-raising ceremony and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, we had to do a hasty tutorial in the car from Terre Haute to Poland, Indiana, where, I assume, they managed to pledge their allegiance.

From 2004-13, we taught at a Department of Defense Dependents School in the UK, where every class day started with the Pledge, recited with varying degrees of enthusiasm. It had, indeed, become “empty ritual.” Ironically, the new complainants mentioned in the editorial may actually lose their case simply because daily rote recitation nullifies any religious or patriotic sentiment involved.

Recitation of the Pledge would have much more meaning if it were reserved for special occasions such as Flag Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day or any other federal holiday. Or, schools could start the school week with the Pledge of Allegiance, knowing full well that no one’s patriotism would suffer the rest of the week.


Investing in schools pays long-term benefits

I have been in the Real Men Read program for five years, and the experience has been extremely enjoyable and rewarding for me. My assignment has been with Lindley Elementary School.

The classroom assigned to me the last three years is second grade with Paige Shlater. I wanted to work in her class because of the positive energy and dedication she provides.

However, many of the students have a poor background for educational success because of poverty, which often results in more fractured families, low interest in learning, drugs and crime. In some cases English is a second language. There are families and students who still thrive in these conditions, but obviously the students in general are not going to test as well as students in more affluent neighborhoods.

The answer to public education is more than good teachers and the right subject matter. Public and parental involvement is needed, plus added resources to help the at-risk students and their parents. Dollars spent on a troubled young child are much more effective than dollars spent later when they become adults. We will be able to offset this cost with a better workforce and a healthier, more productive society. The problem now is we are taking money away from the public schools. It’s time for a politician with some backbone to attempt to solve the problem rather than take the easy road to be elected. It’s not easy to request more funding for public schools for results in the future, especially when they are the scapegoat for the failures of our educational system.

JAY HABIG Fort Wayne

Convention bookings show Indianapolis’ inconsistency

I have to speak up about the inconsistency of the convention policy of Indianapolis policymakers. The National Rifle Association convention is acceptable, but the Democratic National Convention is not due to the fact that they are too overloaded with conventions to book it. Really?

I am an enthusiastic proponent of the First and Second amendments, but I am embarrassed at the forum for venomous and potentially dangerous, threatening rhetoric that Indianapolis provided for the National Rifle Association.

The elected officials who spoke at the NRA ceremonies were showing their true colors, as were the folks who decide which conventions to allow and disallow.

I find it hard to believe that the Democratic National Convention would garner less local revenue and national exposure than the National Rifle Association produced.

I support the right of the Democrats to support their platform, but after hearing the speeches made at the NRA convention in Indianapolis by duly elected officials, I feel that someone who supports the opposing viewpoint is suddenly in someone else’s crosshairs.