In response to Allen Russell's Dec. 11 letter "Mandatory pledge is empty recital," I have been to events at local schools and have participated with children in the Pledge of Allegiance. I have yet to see it forced on those who choose not to recite it. I can tell you that those who do (which has been the majority) enthusiastically stand and recite the pledge. I have seen the words discussed for the younger children.
As far as Russell's claim of force-feeding the pledge, I wonder if he really witnessed this. On the other hand I have been at functions where the pledge was recited and the National Anthem was played and those who chose not to participate did not.
As Russell claims, I too love this country and the freedoms we enjoy. I will recite the Pledge of Allegiance and honor our national emblem, the U.S. flag, every chance I get. I am a Vietnam veteran and I display a flag daily and always will. I personally don't know any veterans who have served or are serving who share Russell's, a Gulf War veteran, negative view of the Pledge of Allegiance or our country's flag.