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
We all grew up reciting this every morning before school. And many of our children are still repeating these lines daily.
Why do we pledge allegiance? What does it mean?
So, let’s break it down.
Essentially, we are using the flag of our country to confirm our support of the United States of America. We are all agreeing to similar values (liberty and justice for all) for all people in America. We are saying that we agree that we are one country, no matter our personal political beliefs.
Actually, the pledge of allegiance was first published and recited in 1892 for the Columbian Exposition and the announcement of the Columbus Day holiday by President Benjamin Harrison.
Reverend Francis Bellamy was working for Youth’s Companion magazine and was tasked with writing a new pledge for children to recite. His original pledge went like this:
It’s quite a bit different from what we have today!
Here is what changed and when:
- 1923: “my flag” –> “the flag of the United States”
- 1924: “the flag of the United States” –> “the flag of the United States of America”
- 1942: the pledge is adopted as part of the US flag code and made compulsory in schools
- 1943: Supreme Court rules that it is not required that all schoolchildren to recite the pledge
- 1954: Knights of Columbus, a Catholic civic organization, petition to add “under God” approved by Congress and signed into law by President Eisenhower
Today, the pledge is still recited daily in many schools and public events around the country. However, it is not compulsory for anyone to participate, just very common.
Does your school recite the pledge daily? Do you or any of your students abstain?