FYI to all who are patriotic or all who are not so much: I am not trying to make a statement here or cause some kind of political discussion or disagreement, but I do find it curious how our Pledge of Allegiance came about. I will say here that first and foremost I am a Christian and I believe that God should be included in our Pledge and our country needs His love and protection in our daily lives; but that is my belief and I am not pressing anyone else to make it their own. I am aware of the age-old arguments about religion, ‘church and state’, etc., and this note is not being used as a religious or political ‘soapbox’ but more as a ‘Did you know’ kind of thing. Maybe with this information, it will shed some light on why our country has such difficulty over the words of our pledge and enlighten those to some of the background of our patriotism.
‘The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by a Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in ANY country. In its original form it read:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
(I find it interesting that it was written by a religious man and the words “under God” were not included.)
In 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. At this time it read:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
(I’m assuming that Americans changed it because they wanted to make it their own.)
In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Today it reads:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
(Again, it’s very interesting that the government is the entity who added the words ‘under God’.)
Section 4 of the Flag Code states:
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute.”
Youth’s Companion, 1892
The original Bellamy salute, first described in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, who authored the original Pledge, began with a military salute, and after reciting the words “to the flag,” the arm was extended toward the flag. At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute — right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.
Shortly thereafter, the pledge was begun with the right hand over the heart, and after reciting “to the Flag,” the arm was extended toward the Flag, palm-down.
In World War II, the salute too much resembled the Nazi salute, so it was changed to keep the right hand over the heart throughout.’
So in summary, the pledge that we recite and the physical actions when we do so have been altered several times due to world events, changes in politics and the influence of men. My hope is that there will not be a change of heart in our country’s people and the Pledge of Allegiance will ring true in our minds, remain deep-rooted in our hearts and be quick on our tongues… and the tongues of our children and grandchildren…
“one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Borrowed from my sister, these are her words (and some from the history books)….but I wholeheartedly agree. Be blessed today and remember to be thankful, always.
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