I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which is stands, one Nation,
under God, indivisible, for liberty and justice for all.
According to custom, civilians reciting the pledge of allegiance should stand at attention or with their right hand over their heart. Men should remove their hats. Armed services personnel in uniform face the flag and give the military salute.
The idea for the pledge came from Francis Bellamy, a former Baptist minister and one of the editors of The Youth’s Companion, a popular children’s magazine. (Bellamy was the cousin of American novelist Edward Bellamy.) In 1892 Francis Bellamy proposed a patriotic ceremony for American schoolchildren to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in North America. As part of this ceremony, children would salute the flag while reciting a new pledge in unison. Bellamy successfully lobbied President Benjamin Harrison to issue a proclamation in support of Columbus Day celebrations in the nation’s public schools.
The original pledge, written by Bellamy, was first published on September 8, 1892, in The Youth’s Companion. Its wording was as follows:
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
Schoolchildren across the country recited the pledge for the first time on October 21, 1892, as part of official Columbus Day observances. (Smaller ceremonies that included the pledge took place on October 12, 1892, the date when some cities observed Columbus Day.) In 1923 and 1924 the National Flag Conference, organized by the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, substituted the words “the flag of the United States of America” for the phrase “my Flag.” The revision was prompted by concerns that immigrants might pledge loyalty to their country of birth rather than to the United States. In 1942 Congress passed a Flag Code that set out customs to follow while reciting the pledge, including placing the hand over the heart. This gesture replaced the “stiff-arm” salute to
the flag, which many Americans felt too closely resembled the salute performed by German Nazis.
In 1954, near the height of the Cold War, Congress and President Dwight Eisenhower added the words “under God” to the pledge. They sought to distinguish the United States from the Soviet Union, which many Americans identified with “godless communism.”
“Pledge of Allegiance,” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2007
http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Why do we say the pledge of allegiance? – I suppose we all have a different reason for reciting the pledge, however, I feel that the reason can’t be more self-explanatory. We, as citizens of America, are pledging our allegiance to a country we believe in, and everything it stands for as outlined in the Constitution of the United States of America, it’s articles and amendments.
Who says the pledge? – Everyone pledging their allegiance to America can freely recite the pledge, usually at the beginning of the day, beginning of school, and before some public events, such as city council meetings and school board meetings. The United States Senate and the House of Representatives both open their daily sessions with the pledge.
My opinion on reciting the pledge:
I believe the pledge of allegiance is a sworn oath of loyalty to protect and defend something we carry strong conviction and belief in and for. There are rare instances of such actions, that carry a more profound meaning. Pledging to give one’s life as a show of loyalty is at the very heart of true patriotism. Of all the ideas that became the United States, there is one line in the Declaration of Independence that is at the heart of all the others:
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
There is no shame in pledging one’s allegiance, to a way of life that ensures liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness. However, why come to live in a country that provides you the freedom to do so, without persecution or prejudice, without becoming a citizen of that country and pledging your allegiance to that same belief and conviction?