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by Abigail Van Buren

Vet Inspires Kids to Say the Pledge and Mean It

DEAR ABBY: I am 13 years old and would like to ask a favor. May I say thank you through your column to an inspirational speaker?

Dave Roever, a Vietnam veteran, came to our middle school in Sherwood, Ore., to speak at an assembly. His face had been badly scarred while he served in the armed forces.

During assemblies at our school, we are required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. My friends and I have usually done this very carelessly, just to get it over with and move the assembly along faster so we can leave.

When Mr. Roever went to the microphone, he asked us to say the Pledge of Allegiance like we meant it. Then he talked about serving in Vietnam and the hardships encountered by our soldiers and the Vietnamese people.

He really made me think about our country, and how lucky we are to have liberty and justice for all. "Thanks, Mr. Roever." And thank you, Abby, for letting me say this to him publicly. -- ANONYMOUS STUDENT

DEAR STUDENT: I am gratified that young people are being taught the price of freedom, and that they are sufficiently intelligent to appreciate the sacrifices made by the members of the armed forces everywhere so that we may enjoy our liberty.

For those who may not have recited the Pledge of Allegiance in some time or may have forgotten the words, here they are. (I'll recite the pledge on Memorial Day, and hope that all my readers will, too.)

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."