The Pledge of Allegiance

On June 22, 1942, the US Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance as the official national pledge.

The pledge was actually written 50 years earlier, in 1892, by a man named Francis Bellamy and used as part of the National Public-School celebration of Columbus Day and the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas.

The original Pledge read as follows:

”I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”


At some point that same year, the word “to” was added:



”I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”



In 1923, the words “my flag” were changed to “the flag of the United States”. In this way new immigrants to the United States would not confuse their loyalties between their native country and the US:



”I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”



In 1924, the words “of America” were added:



”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 words “under God” were officially added by President Eisenhower on Flag Day, June 14, 1954. For a number of years, various attempts by individuals and groups had been made to add these words. The basis of these attempts actually goes back to President Abraham Lincoln and his Gettysburg Address, where he states “that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom”.

As a tradition of US Presidents, President Eisenhower attended a service at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church around the time of Lincoln’s birthday. Pastor George MacPherson Docherty’s sermon was based on President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It is said that in his sermon he argued that our country’s might was not in our arms but in our spirit and higher purpose, and that our Pledge could be the pledge of any nation. He stated “there was something missing in the pledge, and that which was missing was the characteristic and definitive factor in the American way of life”. He believed that Lincoln’s words “under God” were the defining words that set the United States apart from other nations.

Being inspired, Eisenhower took the steps needed to add the words under God to our Pledge:



”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 Flag Code (Title 4, Ch. 1, Sec. 4) states that the Pledge “should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present and not in uniform may render the military salute. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute”.

God Bless America





Find out how to properly and respectfully display the US Flag here.




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