One Nation … UNDER GOD…
One hundred and thirty years ago this month, a socialist minister Francis Bellamy first penned the Pledge of Allegiance. It was originally published in the children’s magazine; 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."
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."
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."
The rules of the pledge are actually spelled out in Section 4 of the Flag Code, which states:
The Pledge of Allegiance 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."
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.
Some of the above historical references were provided by “USHistory.org.”
When you think about this pledge and its origins and meaning, you can’t help but love this country and everything it was founded to be. However, it breaks my heart to know that many schools have ceased the practice of reciting the pledge of allegiance and thus the natural carry-on effect is that now many young adults either don’t know of it at all or they don’t value its importance and message.
However, CBS, President Richard Nixon, and The Library of Congress understood its value. This was never more evident than on January 14, 1969 when Comedian Red Skelton, wrote and performed a version of the pledge, that states exactly what our people of today need to hear. Red performed this monologue on his prime time television comedy, the Red Skelton show.
After CBS aired this broadcast, they received over 200,000 requests for a copy of Red’s pledge. Because there was such a huge demand, CBS released it as a single record. Here is the exact monologue from Red’s Pledge of Allegiance:
“I remember this one teacher. To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time.
He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance one day, and he walked over.
Mr. Lasswell was his name.
He said, "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 is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job.
OF THE 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.
OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC: a state in which sovereign power is vested 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: 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?”
Red Skelton was an accomplished actor, comedian, television and radio star, and a fellow Hoosier. His accomplishments are too numerous to count but to me, his greatest accomplishment, was writing and performing this monologue.
God Bless you Red Skelton – I hope to meet you someday when I join you in Heaven!!!
If you would like to see a video copy of the actual recorded performance, click on this YouTube link: https://youtu.be/pGcwRnQUmUw