I Pledge Allegiance …

Posted 02/05/04

By Bob Lorenz

In 1946, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. It was in this speech that Churchill introduced the phrase "Iron Curtain" to describe the division between the Western powers and areas controlled by the Soviet Union. The speech marked the onset of the Cold War.

In 1964, Westminster College began the reconstruction of Christopher Wren's Church of St. Mary as the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library, it having been dismantled in England and moved stone- by-stone to Fulton. Former President Harry Truman joined British Ambassador Lord Harlech for the groundbreaking ceremonies.

President Truman, then residing once again in Independence, Missouri, was scheduled to arrive in St. Louis via TWA. Lord Harlech was expected to arrive via a Royal Air Force transport. From St. Louis they were to travel via limousine to Fulton.

I was requested to meet and assist these two gentlemen in making their transfer at the St. Louis Airport to Fulton, as well as later when they returned.

It being a Sunday afternoon, I was scheduled to take my wife Betty and our two daughters, Suzanne and Michele on our weekly "Sunday Afternoon Out." Instead, I was to meet and assist the former President of the United States and the British Ambassador to the United States. So, I asked my family to ride with me to the airport.

The girls mingled into the crowd, which was typically large this Sunday afternoon. Suddenly, Mr. Truman saw this little girl waving at me. He asked if that was my family. I said "Yes," and he said, "Bring them over, I'd like to meet them." As they came over, little three-year-old Michele started reciting something. Mr. Truman asked me, "What is she saying?" I replied, "Sir, apparently meeting you is making her feel quite patriotic … she's saying the Pledge of Allegiance." Mr. Truman was quite impressed. He invited us to join him in the Ambassadors Club, where he placed her on his lap and asked her to repeat it for at least a third time.

Michele is in her forties now. She learned the Pledge of Allegiance from watching Romper Room on television. "Miss Lois" was her teacher. She graduated from Romper Room a long time ago, and since has attained a Master's Degree. Whenever the occasion arises, she continues to "Pledge her Allegiance to our flag and our country, under God, with liberty and justice for all."

Bob Lorenz (1946 - 1982) started out loading bags at STL. He later worked in Ticketing, Reservations and Sales at STL, and at 380 Madison Avenue, NYC.

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