Members of the South Dakota House State Affairs Committee pledged their support Wednesday for the Pledge of Allegiance. They voted unanimously for a bill requiring it to be recited at the start of every day in every public school classroom in the state. Veterans groups have been carrying the banner for getting the pledge into more classrooms.
The pledge bill now goes on to a vote of the full House. Veterans, who spoke out in favor of the pledge before the Sioux Falls School District last fall, are hopeful it will become a daily part of every classroom across South Dakota.
Women at the Sioux Falls VFW gather for a lively game called Head and Foot and their passion about the Pledge of Allegiance is very much in the cards.
"I think as Americans, we have to stick to our country and be grateful and say the pledge," Lois Sears Ahrendt of Sioux Falls said.
The card players say the significance of the pledge trumps any objections people may have about it being recited in the classroom.
"Our service men and women fought for our country, for our freedom, so that we could say the Pledge of Allegiance," Judy Sherman said.
Some people think a high school student's busy schedule is too chaotic to fit in the pledge. And some grade school students are too young to fully grasp the meaning behind the words of the pledge. But the people here at the VFW think passing the Pledge in the legislature makes good political and patriotic sense.
"I won't say it helped you become a Patriot or anything like that, but it gave you a foundation to build your patriotism within," VFW Post # 628 Commander Butch Haugen said.
Sioux Falls VFW Post Commander Butch Haugen doesn't see the Pledge Bill in the legislature as an attempt by the state to impose its will on individual school districts.
"I think it's more a lesson learned how patriotic we really are," Haugen said.
The Pledge of Allegiance has gained more support across the state since the Sioux Falls School District voted to expand its policy last fall. Other districts, including Rapid City, followed suit. The Associated School Boards of South Dakota passed a resolution in support of reciting the pledge in the classroom.