A father who has served in the Coast Guard could not help but cry when his mostly nonverbal 5 year-old son, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, began to speak with confidence as he recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

“I was full of — I was just so proud,” said 32 year-old Eric Garza, who was so emotional that he could barely get the words out.

His son Jake, who is nicknamed “Mr. Handsome,” was born prematurely and has suffered from numerous health problems in his short life. Making matters worse, his mother passed away from cancer a few years ago, and he now lives with his father and stepmother, Taylor. in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Despite everything that has happened to him, Jake still manages to stay positive and keep a smile on his face!

Taylor said that she was also overcome with emotion after hearing Jake recite the pledge.

“It is all just extremely emotional for me — it just caught us both so off guard,” she said. The stepmother explained that the family was just hanging out together playing games when Jake suddenly started reciting the pledge perfectly! Nobody could believe their eyes!

“To see your kid hit such a big milestone and get out the whole pledge was amazing and brought tears of joy,” she said.

Jake’s kindergarten class at Sexton Elementary School recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day, and his parents are especially grateful to Jake’s aide Cheryl Cunningham, who made sure he was able to learn the words.

“I’m so proud of what he’s accomplished,” Cunningham said. “[Jake’s] dad being in the military and my son just went into boot camp, so it’s huge.”

Thanks in large part to Cunningham’s efforts, Jake is now “speaking full sentences,” and his father thinks he has a bright future ahead of him.

“He’s the happiest, smiley little kid you’d ever meet,” Eric said. “That kid is the future — he’s gonna do big things. He’s amazing.”

How cute is that?! It’s so great to see our nation’s great Pledge of Allegiance be used as a tool to help this child’s life in so many ways!

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