The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. — Winter Garden Mayor John Rees ordered a man to leave the city commission meeting Thursday night because he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

“I just said, ‘Either stand or go in the hallway.’ He wouldn’t,” said Rees, 65, who was elected to a third, three-year term in March. “It wasn’t premeditated. I just reacted. It hit me. I said it. I gave him an option. … Life will go on.”

Rees said he considered the man’s refusal to stand for the invocation — a ceremonial prayer that opens the city’s public meetings — and the Pledge of Allegiance to be disrespectful. “I did not make him stand for the prayer,” Rees said. “But the Pledge? Even school kids stand. So I told him, ‘You have two choices: You can stand or go outside.’ ”

Police Chief George A. Brennan then approached the man and asked, “What are you going to do?”

The man then got up and left. He was not arrested.

Rees said he did not know the man.

Consisting of 31 words, the 122-year-old pledge has been the subject of debate and legal battles for years, including a notable one in Florida that led a federal appeals court to rule that it was unconstitutional to force students to recite — or even stand “at attention” — for the pledge.

The Florida case involved an 11th-grader at a school in Palm Beach County whose parents sued in 2005 after the teen was punished and ridiculed by his teacher for refusing to stand while his classmates recited the pledge.

Leslie Postal contributed to this report.

Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr

Interested in national news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!</em>

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

For a long time, inflation has been the phantom of the American economy: often expected but never seen. But the latest Consumer Price Index, which showed that prices rose by five percent from May of last year to May of this year, raises fears that it is breaking down the front door and taking over the guest room.

The price jump was the biggest one-month increase since 2008. It appears to support the warning of former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who wrote in February that President Joe Biden's budget binge could "set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation." Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell charged last month that the administration has already produced "raging inflation."

Keep reading... Show less

Close