A five-year-old boy with cerebral palsy brought his father to tears after the boy overcame his obstacles to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Jake Garza, a once-quiet five-year-old who faces many health issues at such a young age, surprised his family while spending time with them in St. Petersburg, Florida, when he began reciting the pledge, Jake’s father, Eric, told Fox News on Wednesday.
“It hit me right in the heart,” said Eric, a 32-year-old who serves on active duty for the U.S. Coast Guard. Eric added that seeing his son recite the pledge moved him so much, it brought him to tears.
Jake’s father said he did not know his son could recite the pledge, especially since his cerebral palsy—a neurological disorder—affects “muscle coordination” and “body movement.”
“He was showing some [speech] progress, but could only say words like ‘yes’ and ‘no,’” Eric said.
Eric said Jake learned to say the pledge in pre-K at Sexton Elementary School, and the father thanked his son’s teachers and personal aide for helping his son.
Taylor Garza, Jake’s stepmother and Eric’s wife, said it was an “emotional” experience watching her son reach such a milestone.
“It is all just extremely emotional for me—it just caught us both so off guard,” Taylor told Fox News. “To see your kid hit such a big milestone and get out the whole pledge was amazing and brought tears of joy.”
Other young children have gained attention for reciting the pledge. In September 2016, a Texas kindergartner running late for school went viral on social media after he stopped at the entrance of his school to pray and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.