I have a problem with the way most people say the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s one of those nit-picky things that only OCD people would even pay attention to, but I feel the need this morning to clarify it for those who simply “follow along” whenever they hear it. And for those of you wondering why in the world I’m even thinking of the pledge this morning…we will get to that in a moment.
The Pledge of Allegiance, as revised by Congress in 1954 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."
Most people insert commas after “flag” and after “nation”. The first comma doesn’t annoy me as much as the second one. The first one I will give you for the sake of breath and tradition. Okay. But “one nation under God” is one phrase and one thought and one important idea that I think should be said that way. To do otherwise sounds a bit like hesitation. President Eisenhower asked Congress to add that phrase to the original pledge as a declaration against Communism.
A bit of trivia for you- the original pledge was written in 1892 by a Socialist, Francis Bellamy, as a “one pledge fits all” vow to be used by anyone in any country.
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
It was changed to read “to the flag of the United States” in 1923.
Now, back to why I brought this up. Our students are required by Oklahoma education standards to learn the Pledge of Allegiance, so I have been testing their ability in preparation for this quarter’s report card. I listened to eight of my students yesterday and will finish up today. Of course at this age we don’t strive for perfect understanding or recitation, but I do expect a reasonable rendition since we say the pledge every single morning. We also read books about it and discuss the words and their meanings.
Civics Citizenship Literacy
Content Standard 1: The student will exhibit traits of
1. Recognize the importance of rules and responsibilities as
a member of the family, class, and school.
2. Identify the United States Flag as a symbol of the country
including learning The Pledge of Allegiance and practicing
appropriate flag etiquette.
I also thought about the pledge when I first heard the buzz about satanists wishing to place a statue of their idol on the Oklahoma State Capitol lawn. (BTW, spell check told me that satanist should be capitalized, but I declined to do so.) This is supposedly in retaliation against the Ten Commandments being there. Personally I think it is just a clever publicity stunt. But, if we are still “one nation under God” then the symbols of God are the most appropriate ones for our capitol or any other one.
Okay, off the box for today.