CRESTVIEW — Old Glory, steadied by Troop 30 Boy Scout Jackson Kiewiet, snapped in the breeze Monday as an estimated 85 residents took 15 minutes at noon to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
The annual Stand Up and Say the Pledge ceremony — sponsored by the Crestview Exchange Club — allows the community to rededicate itself to ideals embodied in the nation's flag, club president Mayor David Cadle said during his opening remarks.
"We're very afraid that we're losing sight of what these symbols of our country mean to us," he said.
During his invocation, the Rev. Walter Beamon, a retired Air Force chaplain, thanked God "for this beautiful banner, our flag," noting, "It is only a symbol, but let it always be a symbol of freedom and may it always be flown in pride and never in shame."
Crestview High School senior Olivia Dunn, a member of the school chorus, sang "The Star Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful," between which club member Sharlene Cox read, "Do You Know What the Pledge of Allegiance Means," a 2010 essay written by then 16-year-old Kyle Griesinger, a Texas Eagle Scout.
"The Pledge of Allegiance has become little more than a nursery rhyme to children. Why is that?" Cox read. "It is because from the time they enter the school system, they are taught to recite it every morning without ever being told the meaning of the words."
Before the crowd of Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, veterans, retirees, families and others who recited the pledge, Young Marine Michael Warren read Ron Tranmer's poem "Stand Proud, Stand Tall."
At the brief ceremony's conclusion, World War II, Korea and Vietnam War veteran and Crestview resident Sgt. Tom Seagle, proudly wearing his dress uniform, led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Attendance more than tripled that of the 2012 ceremony, Cadle said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.