I Pledge Allegiance

By | Dec 28, 2012

I was at a breakfast meeting this morning and part of the discussion was about the history of the Pledge. I thought I would re-post this article that I first wrote in September of 2009.

It’s said many times. Many School Children begin their day and many Public Meetings are opened with these words, “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.”

It was written not as part of a government program, but by Francis Bellamy and was originally published in the September 8, 1892 issue of the popular children’s magazine The Youth’s Companion as part of the National Public-School Celebration of Columbus Day. This celebration was for the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America.

Bellamy original pledge was slightly different than the one we recite today. It was “I Pledge Allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

As you can see there has been changes made since its introduction. The first came fairly quickly when the word “to” was added before “the Republic”. It remained this way until the 1923 National Flag Conference when the words the words “my Flag ” were changed to “the Flag of the United States”. A year later the words “of America ” were added.

It wasn’t until June 22, 1942. while the United States being just a little more than 6 months into World War II, that Congress officially made it the country’s official Pledge. It is part of the Flag Code.

The words “under God” was officially added to the Pledge in 1954. They were first put in the Pledge by Louis A. Bowman in 1948 when he lead the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution at their Lincoln Birthday meeting. Lincoln had used the words “under God” in the Gettysburg Address saying, ” … that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


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