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THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The original draft of the pledge is said to have been written in 1892 by James B. Upham, a magazine publisher in Boston. The first version was: "I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." In 1939, the U.S. Flag Association concluded the pledge's author was Francis Bellamy. At the first National Flag Conference in 1923 in Washington, D.C., delegates from patriotic societies, civic and other organizations substituted the words "the flag of the United States" for "my flag." The change was made because it was thought that the foreign-born might have in mind the flag of their native land when they said "my flag." Another change was made at the second National Flag Conference in 1924 when the words "of America" were added.

For 30 years the version was: "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." In 1954 Congress added the words "under God" to the pledge.

We now recite: "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."

The pledge of allegiance should be rendered while standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform people should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Members of the armed forces in uniform should remain silent, face the flag and render the military salute.

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands- one nation indivisible-with liberty and justice for all."


On September 8,1892, the Boston based "The Youth's Companion" magazine published a few words for students to repeat on Columbus Day that year. Written by Francis Bellamy,the circulation manager and native of Rome, New York, and reprinted on thousands of leaflets, was sent out to public schools across the country. On October 12, 1892, the quadricentennial of Columbus' arrival, more than 12 million children recited the Pledge of Allegiance, thus beginning a required school-day ritual.

At the first National Flag Conference in Washington D.C., on June14, 1923, a change was made. For clarity, the words "the Flag of the United States" replaced "my flag". In the following years various other changes were suggested but were never formally adopted.

It was not until 1942 that Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. One year later, in June 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite it. In fact,today only half of our fifty states have laws that encourage the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom!

In June of 1954 an amendment was made to add the words "under God". Then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower said "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."

The following words were spoken by the late Red Skelton on his television program as he related the story of his teacher, Mr. Laswell, who felt his students had come to think of the Pledge of Allegiance as merely something to recite in class each day.

Now, more than ever, listen to the meaning of these words.
"I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?"

I -- me, an individual, a committee of one.

Pledge -- dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self pity.

Allegiance -- my love and my devotion.

To the flag -- our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there's respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job!

United -- that means that we have all come together.

States -- individual communities that have united into 48 great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose; all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that's love for country.

And to the republic -- a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

For which it stands, one nation -- one nation, meaning "so blessed by God"

Indivisible -- incapable of being divided.

With liberty -- which is freedom -- the right of power to live one's own life without threats, fear or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice -- the principle or quality of dealing fairly with others.

For all -- which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country and two words have been added to the pledge of Allegiance... UNDER GOD. Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer and that would be eliminated from schools too?

God Bless America!

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