Senator John McClain: "I spent five & one half years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement or two or three to a cell. In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room.....As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves & other items of clothing. Mike Christian got a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he sewed the American flag on the inside of his shirt. Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall & say the Pledge of Allegiance. I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our days now, but I can assure you in that stark cell it was a most important & meaningful invent. One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, & discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, & removed it. That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, & for the benefit of all of us, beat Mike Christian for the next couple of hours. They then opened the door of the cell & threw him in. The cell in which we lived in had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept as well as well as we could. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room. We tried to clean up Mike as well we could. After the excitement died down, I looked into the corner of the room & sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt & his bamboo needle, was my friend Mike Christian sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag. He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making the flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to pledge our allegiance to the flag & country. So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice & courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation & promote freedom around the world. You must remember our duty, our honor, & our country. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America & to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty & justice for all."
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