Gillespie V. "Sonny" Montgomery

Gillespie V. "Sonny" Montgomery (August 5, 1920 - May 12, 2006) was an American politician from Mississippi who served in the U.S. House of Representatives 1967-1997. Montgomery, who was considered a pro-defense and pro-Veterans Democrat, resided in Meridian, the seat of Lauderdale County, in eastern Mississippi.

Born in Laurel, Mississippi, he attended Mississippi State University in Starkville and was a member of Beta Tau chapter of Kappa Alpha Order. He served in the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant during World War II and also in the Korean Conflict. He retired from the Mississippi National Guard as a Major General in 1980. He was the author of the G.I. Bill of Rights that gives Veterans money to pay for college and was a lead sponsor in establishing the Veterans Affairs cabinet level position.

On September 13, 1988, Sonny Montgomery became the first Congressman to lead the U.S. House in citing the Pledge of Allegiance as a permanent part of its daily and morning business operations [1]. The day prior to his death, Congressman Gene Taylor introduced an amendment to House Defense Appropriations Bill to rename the bill the Sonny Montgomery National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007. Following his death, President Bush ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half staff [2]. In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives canceled non-suspension votes on the day of his funeral.