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WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Tom Carper today criticized the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to declare unconstitutional the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance by public school children. Carper joined the US Senate in passing a resolution condemning the court's decision and affirming their support of the Pledge. "Patriotism should be a virtue, not a crime. Our children should have every chance to honor their country, not be ashamed of their pledge," Carper said. "So many fought and died for the freedom the Circuit Court would now deny so many children. The pledge is a common thread that unites a nation of diversity." Carper has a long record of military service, attending Ohio State University as a Navy ROTC midshipman. He completed five years of active duty as a Naval flight officer, serving in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. He served another 18 years in the Naval Reserve. Carper was the Mission Commander of a P-3 Naval Aircraft. He retired from the Navy with the rank of Captain.