If you grew up in America, you learned the Pledge of Allegiance pretty early in your life. And if you emigrated here, you learned it, either to fit in or before you tried to become an American citizen.
But have you ever learned about the Pledge of Allegiance itself, and stopped repeating it by rote long enough to think about what you are pledging? Perhaps if you learn more about it, you?ll hesitate?or decline?the next time you get the chance to recite those words. And, in an even greater stretch of courage, you would tell your children the truth about the Pledge so they could make up their own minds about their own actions.
Baptist clergyman and avowed socialist Francis Bellamy wrote the first Pledge of Allegiance back in 1892. It was part of an effort by the popular children?s magazine The Youth?s Companion? to sell American nationalism and American flags to public schools. It was timed to coincide with celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus? discovery of America.
Bellamy?s original Pledge read as follows:
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Bellamy intended that the Pledge be accompanied by a salute, known as the ?Bellamy salute.? He described the gesture in that October 1892 article in ?The Youth?s Companion.? Here is a photo of the ?Bellamy salute? from 1941.
? Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.