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The History of the Pledge of Allegiance


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Text of the Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance was first recited in 1892, the year it was first written. The author was Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister from New York. Bellamy was also a chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association.

Public schools all around the country were preparing a celebration in honor of the 400th anniversary of Columbus Day. Bellamy wanted a special celebration, and he wanted to center it around a flag-raising ceremony and salute. With this in mind, he wrote his pledge:

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

Notice the words "my flag." They stayed this way in the Pledge until 1924, when a National Flag Conference announced that the words "my flag" would be changed to "the flag of the United States of America."

"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."

The Pledge stayed this way until 1954, when Congress added the words "under God." This was the final change, giving the Pledge its current wording:

"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."

Schoolkids all across the United States recite the Pledge of Allegiance at school, usually in the morning. But they don't have to.

Way back in 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that schools couldn't require students to recite the Pledge. Today, only half of the 50 states have laws that require kids to recite the Pledge.

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday


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