The Pledge of Allegiance isn’t just a series of words that should be blindly recited each morning in home room, and forgotten once you receive your high school diploma. It is an oath of loyalty to the Flag, our country, its people, and its government. Let us go back to elementary school and review the history of the Pledge of Allegiance. It was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, for a Boston based youth magazine called The Youth’s Companion. It was published on September 8, 1892, and was titled “Pledge to the Flag.” Here is how it read in its original form: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
It was going to be used in October to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America. Thus the Pledge of Allegiance was born, but like anything new it took years to mature to the version we know today. Following the Columbus Day celebration, the Pledge became a popular daily routine in public schools, but gained little attention elsewhere.
On Flag Day June 14, 1923, the first National Flag Conference was held in Washington D.C. It was there that the first change was made to the Pledge. Because there was concern that there would be some confusion because of the growing number of immigrants now in the United States, “my Flag,” was changed to “the Flag of the United States.” The following year “of America” was added.
Though the Pledge was gaining popularity, it was still unofficial until June 22, 1942 when Congress included the Pledge in the United States Flag Code. One year after its official sanction the Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite the Pledge in school. The title was still, “Pledge to the Flag,” until 1945 when it recieves its official title, “The Pledge of Allegiance.”
The final change took place on Flag Day June 14, 1954 when President Eisenhower approved the addition of the words, “under God.”
“In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.” -President Eisenhower
The Pledge of Allegiance had finally reached maturity and would now be recited as follows: “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.”
Now, let us breakdown the Pledge so we can more fully understand the words we mindlessly memorized and recited.
“I Pledge Allegiance”
I, personally, swear my loyalty
“to the Flag of the United States of America”
to the emblem that represents all 50 states individually and as a whole
“and to the republic”
and also to the government, which is a republic, a form of government where its people are soveriegn
“for which it stands,”
this government also being represented by the Flag
“one nation under God,”
These 50 individual states united under God
and can not be divided.
The people of this nation given freedom of choice
and each person being treated fairly and justly according to proper law and principle
and these principles afforded to EVERY AMERICAN, regardless of race, religion, color, creed, or any other criteria.
I am a proud citizen of the United States of America, and I am proud to know and understand the words of the Pledge of Allegiance. I am honored to live in a country where I can be free to choose without fear of punishment by my government. I am free to vote, say what I want, marry whom I choose, work, join the military, pray to whatever diety I choose, and all because I am an American. So, next time you say or hear the words to The Pledge of Allegiance, don’t just brush it off or get angry over a couple of words you find “offensive.” Instead, think about what all the words together mean. And if you still can’t seem to accept the words, then become President and change them. Because until you do, they will remain they way they are, and there’s nothing you can do about it. This nation was founded “under God” and the words should be in the Pledge.