Joe Ptak is the man who asked if we were going to say the pledge in the post below he left a comment there that I reproduce here. He left this comment at Don Surber’s blog as well, and Don promoted it to it’s own post. Joe left a comment on that post that I also want to reproduce here. Thank you Joe for asking about the pledge. Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for reminding us how very special being an American is.
The comment from below:
My name is Joe Ptak and I live in Island Lake, Illinois. I attended the Joe Walsh-Melissa Bean “forum” and I WAS THE INDIVIDUAL who stood up and wanted to know why the pledge of allegiance was not going to be recited…I thought it might have been an oversight. I was flabbergasted and stunned to hear the LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS moderator say to me, and the audience, that it was never part of their program at these events and will not allowed.
Please keep in mind that this “forum” was organized in Grayslake High School for the benefit of the students, who were asking the questions. Furthermore, there were numerous students present (gaining extra credit) as well as 350 adults and media who packed the auditorium.
I served in the USAFR’s for ten (10) years and there were many veterans in attendance. I was so proud when the audience rose up one by one, then in mass to recite the pledge of allegiance with loud and heavy emphasis on the words LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. The moderator then had the gall to admonish the audience and for “disrespecting her”…my wife told me if that woman did not shut up she was going to get her “Brooklyn up” (being from NY).
I happen to be an Hispanic immigrant from Peru, South America, who was brought to this great country by my parents, along with three other siblings in 1960, when I was eight years old. I was raised in Chicago, have seen, and experienced a lot in this world. People are literary dying each day for just the OPPORTUNITY to live in this great land I call my home.
There are ignorant people in this land who do not have the slightest idea, nor understand, what it means to be an AMERICAN. Our Liberty, Freedom of Speech and the Press are never guaranteed and we must always fight to maintain them. I think our students in attendance witnessed that first hand and gained a lot of extra credit for themselves.
The comment at Don Surber’s:
My deepest gratitude for all the kind words.
I believe in the God given ability of Americans to overcome anything that they are ever confronted with, as a nation, because of their spirit, determination, internal faith and courage.
My last name is Ptak, it is a Polish name. I mention this because, unfortunately, in 1940, the Nazis came to my father’s home in Poland and at the tender age of 13, they took him from his family to work on a farm in France. Shortly after June 6th, 1944, when thousands of Americans invaded France (and thousands died doing so) my father was able to escape. He was on his own, joined a guerilla force and eventually joined the Polish Army and served under British command in Italy.
When the War was over, because of the American Red Cross, he was able to write his father to inform him that he was alive and wanted to come home. I cannot imagine how happy his father must have felt. However, his father could only write back that “Son there is nothing for you to come home to…everything here is blown up and destroyed and we are occupied by the Russians…go out and find your own world to live in from now on.”
At the time, Italy was full of war refugees from all over Europe. Transport ships where arranged for single males and families…that departed from Italy… and whatever country accepted them, that is where they started a new life…with basically just the clothes on their backs.
My father landed in Peru, SA and was blessed to eventually find a Peruvian wife who has been his soul mate throughout his life. It was at my mother’s insistence that somehow or other they find a way to move to America and provide for their four children what her country could not. My father opposed the idea at first, but my mother was insistent and won out in the end. My father then told my mother that changing countries to him was like changing shoes and once they went, there was no turning back. My parents came to this country at the age of 32, with four children, no job skills, minimal education, did not know the language, and $200 dollars in their pocket. This was in January of 1960, in the middle of a blizzard (my mom had seen snow in her life). It did not take long for my mother to beg my father for them to go back to Peru…my father said NO…America is a good country and Americans are good people…we have to suffer and work hard for our kids. Ask yourself who would even rent to them…black people did…and to this day, I love them for it.
At the age of thirty-two, I decided to join the Air Force Reserves in order to pay back for everything this country had done for my entire family. I proudly served our nation for ten years and retired as a staff sergeant.
I am 58 years old and on November 2nd, I will be celebrating my 19th year of marriage to my beautiful wife Maria.
Today my parents are still alive and live a mile away, my older sister has a doctorate in education, my younger brother is President of a small bank, and my two other sisters are happily married and successful in their own right…with beautiful families. One of my nephews is in the military and stationed in Afghanistan right now.
I found it very hard to write all this without continuously crying…glad I am by myself working in my office (I own my own small business).
I guess I never take it for granted what it means to be a patriotic, freedom loving American, which people around the world can only dream about becoming one day. My father experienced what it was like to lose his family, country and freedom, in just one night…he never knew at the time that God meant for him and his children to be Americans.
Thank you again patriotic Americans for your kind words…it is I who owe you my deepest gratitude for all you have done for my family and me.
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.”
God bless America.
Island Lake, IL.
So, in response to the spontaneous recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance reported below Jan Czarnik, League of Women Voters Executive Director, has declared that
Later in the story they quote her:
Czarnik said someone is not a better American just by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
“It’s a phony patriotism issue is what it is,” she said. “They must think it helps their campaign.”
I was there. I am not a phony patriot. I proudly rose, put my hand over my heart, and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Kathy Tate-Bradish of the League of Women Voters, the moderator at the event, spent more time arguing before and berating the audience after than it took to actually say the Pledge.
Big Government also has a story on this.
Updated with video – see below:
Tonight we went to the League of Women Voters Candidate’s Forum at Grayslake Central High School. The auditorium was packed and people had to have tickets to get in. Tickets were limited to 400. We arrived about 20 minutes before tickets were due to be handed out and when we got there the line went around the side of the building.
A bit later someone came by with tickets and handed them out to people in line. Shortly after that the line started moving and we were able to go inside. It took a while for all the people to get into the auditorium and be seated. Once that happened candidates for Illinois’ 8th Congressional District Melissa Bean (incumbent D) and Bill Scheurer (Green) came onstage. There was a smattering of applause. Then Joe Walsh (R) walked out and the crowd went wild.
Students from Grayslake Central High School’s AP Government class planned and sponsored the debate. They served as timers and questioners, ushers and ticket takers. I commend the students and their teachers for a well run program.
The woman from the League of Women Voters moderated and before the debate got underway she told us the rules. No cameras, no talking, questions will be written down on index cards and a student will take the card to the teachers who will vet the cards for relevance, tone, and appropriateness. Then the question might be read out by one of the questioners on stage. Just before the start, someone in the audience asked if the Pledge of Allegiance would be said (there was a flag on stage). The woman from the LWV said no. It wasn’t something that was done. Some members of the audience then stood and started saying the Pledge. Pretty much the rest of the audience then rose and said the Pledge as well.
Update video: You can actually hear my voice saying the Pledge near the end of the video. I was right next to the camera this was filmed from.
Back to the regular post:
The woman from the LWV was upset. She said that the audience had disrespected her. She said she was “forced” to say the Pledge and that it had “obviously been planned”. As if we all decided in line to say the Pledge of Allegiance anyway if refused. I hadn’t even thought that the Pledge might not be said. This was a political candidate’s forum and the three candidates on stage were hoping to be elected to represent us in the Federal Government. Saying the Pledge of Allegiance at a political event in America should be a no-brainer.
I live-tweeted the event and reproduce the tweets below the fold (later comments in italics):
Linked by Don Surber. Thanks!
Linked by The Real Revo. Thanks!
Linked by Moe Lane at RedState. Thanks!
Linked by The Conservative Pup. Thanks!
Linked by Domine, da mihi hanc aquam! Thanks!
Linked by Granite Grok. Thanks!
Linked by Vlad Tepes Blog. Thanks!
Linked by Nice Deb. Thanks!
Linked by Memorandum. Thanks!
Linked by No Sheeples Here. Thanks!
Debate between Joe Walsh, Bill Scheurer, moderated by Round Lake Beach Mayor Rich Hill. Melissa Bean was invited to participate and did not show up.
The video is about an hour and fifteen minutes, so here’s a link to download it.