A Pledge For The 4th
ROBERT HARDT JR.
Jul. 02, 1991
NEW YORK (AP) _ There are 50 selections on the cassette tape of Kevin Newman's ''Patriotic Pledge Program.'' You can listen to the Pledge of Allegiance, the Pledge of Allegiance or - the Pledge of Allegiance.
Among the 50 people reciting the 31-word pledge on the 60-minute tape are President Bush, comedian Joan Rivers and Wheels of Fortune letter-turner Vanna White.
Newman, 21, of the upstate town of North Greece, undertook the project after graduating from high school in 1988. He sent thousands of letters to celebrities asking them to mail him a recording of them reciting the pledge.
To his surprise, many responded, including Bush, who was then vice president.
Others who responded include actor Henry Winkler, television talk show host Sally Jessy Raphael and TV's Batman Adam West.
''I was flabbergasted,'' Newman said. ''When I played the tape, people listened to the pledge in a totally different way.''
He got the idea during one of the countless recitals of the pledge by his class at Greece Athena High School.
''People weren't interested in it,'' Newman said. ''My goal was to have the pledge stopped being recited or to be continued by people who thought about what it meant.''
To rekindle interest in it among his classmates, Newman mailed letters to Bush, then-President Reagan and others, requesting them to recite the pledge on tape.
Instead of going to college on an Air Force scholarship, Newman decided to compile the tape, which he hopes to distribute to schools and scout troops.
''Not immediately going to college was a radical decision,'' said Newman, an Eagle Scout. ''It caused a lot of tears in my family, but it was something I needed to do.''
He said proceeds from the cassette will benefit the non-profit National Pledge of Allegiance Foundation.