A Tribute to Sonny Montgomery


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.

Thirty-one hallowed words that embody the spirit of the greatest nation on Earth. The Pledge of Allegiance is about freedom. It is about justice for all. It is about patriotism. Thousands of Americans know and recite the pledge. A few who have dedicated their lives to this country and its people embody its words. They are patriots.

How fitting that on September 13, 1988, a veteran congressman from Mississippi became the first to lead the House of Representatives in the Pledge of Allegiance as it became a permanent part of daily operations. Gillespie V. Montgomery, affectionately known as Sonny, has lived the Pledge of Allegiance during three decades of service to his country and his state. Adlai Stevenson once observed that "Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." Those words might have been uttered to describe Sonny Montgomery.

Since 1967, he has represented Mississippi's Third District in Congress, serving with seven presidents. He fought in Europe in World War II and returned to active duty during the Korean War as part of a military career that spanned 35 years. As a member of Congress, he traveled to Vietnam to visit with the troops at Christmas and to search for missing soldiers. He has long been known as one of the nation's leading champions of a strong defense and as the foremost advocate for veterans' rights.

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Last modified: Friday, 12-May-2006 07:29:24 CDT.