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Commissioners discuss when to take breath during Pledge of Allegiance

First they paused.

Then, they discussed the pause.

The Sedgwick County Commission's first order of business Wednesday was a request to take the pause out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Chairman Kelly Parks said he hoped it would eliminate the "echo" effect:

"It's come to my attention that when we say the Allegiance there is kind of an echo, so let's just say 'one nation under God' without a pause," Parks said.

They did. Business went on.

The meeting had just been called to order shortly after 9 a.m.

The commissioners, staff and visitors in the gallery had stood for the invocation, led by Pastor Brent Warkentin from the First Mennonite Brethren Church.

Then, Parks said with Flag Day approaching he wanted the commission to say the pledge without the pause.

There was no other discussion on the matter.

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn said after the meeting Wednesday since he had taken his seat last year, it had become a pet peeve when other commissioners paused as they'd come to the "one nation under God" portion of the allegiance.

"I made the comment that there is no comma after 'one nation under God,'" Peterjohn said. "I kidded Commissioner Parks. What he did today, he did that on his own. It's just one of those things. I grew up saying it that way. It is supposed to be that way."

Commissioner Tim Norton said the request puzzled him.

"You know, I honor the flag. If that is the protocol to say it in a certain meter, I am okay with that. I was very comfortable with the pause, regardless of how some other people learned it. To me, it is a nonissue. Of all the things that are a problem for our community, with the economy and the world, it seemed like a pretty minor detail. I moved on real quick."