WASHINGTON — President Reagan saluted the Constitution, "our blueprint for freedom," on the eve of its 200th birthday and led thousands of children Wednesday in the Pledge of Allegiance at a colorful celebration of American citizenship.
As former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger read the Constitution's preamble, many of the children gathered on the west lawn of the Capitol joined him in reciting it, beginning with the ringing, "We, the people of the United States."
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At the New York Stock Exchange, trading halted briefly in the afternoon, and workers waved American flags on the trading floor. In Boston, workers took off their hard hats, dropped their tools and joined Reagan in the televised pledge. Congress temporarily adjourned for the ceremony and hundreds of federal workers were given an extra 90 minutes on top of their usual one-hour lunch to attend.
"We're a part of history," said Holly Maultz, 16, one of 108 pupils who recited the pledge a half-hour before Reagan on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, in Pennsylvania for an overhaul.