Mayor Rees paused before the religious invocation and requested that citizen Joseph Richardson stand for the prayer. Richardson replied, "I don't think I have to." The invocation called for God's blessing on Winter Garden's businesses, citizens, and staff.
Somebody said a prayer, which then led to the Pledge of Allegiance. Once again, Mayor Rees asked Richardson to stand, "Now, sir, please stand while we do the pledge. You don't have to say it, but please stand."
Richardson remained seated and once again declined to stand. Mayor Rees then instructed Police Chief George A. Brennan to escort Richardson from the room while the others recited the pledge.
Mayor Rees has asserted that he believes that it is disrespectful to our troops for Richardson to refuse to stand during the pledge. However, one could argue that the troops fought for our freedoms, which include the freedom from participating in state-led prayers and pledges.
You can watch a video of the incident here: