Pledge of Allegiance
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands- one
nation indivisible-with liberty and justice for all."
On September 8,1892, the Boston based "The Youth's Companion" magazine
published a few words for students to repeat on Columbus Day that year. Written
by Francis Bellamy,the circulation manager and native of Rome, New York, and
reprinted on thousands of leaflets, was sent out to public schools across the
country. On October 12, 1892, the quadricentennial of Columbus' arrival, more
than 12 million children recited the Pledge of Allegiance, thus beginning a
required school-day ritual.
At the first National Flag Conference in Washington D.C., on June14, 1923, a
change was made. For clarity, the words "the Flag of the United States" replaced
"my flag". In the following years various other changes were suggested but were
never formally adopted.
It was not until 1942 that Congress officially recognized the Pledge of
Allegiance. One year later, in June 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that school
children could not be forced to recite it. In fact,today only half of our fifty
states have laws that encourage the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in
In June of 1954 an amendment was made to add the words "under God".
Then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower said "In this way we are reaffirming the
transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way
we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our
country's most powerful resource in peace and war."
Pledge of Allegiance
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of
and to the Republic for which it stands
one nation - under GOD - indivisible
with liberty and justice for all."
Always stand at attention, remain silent, facing the flag,
with your right hand over your heart. Men wearing headdress should remove their
headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being
over the heart. Persons in uniform should stand at attention, remain silent,
face the flag, and render the military salute.
"The Pledge of Allegiance" -
by Senator John McCain
As you may know, I spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war during the
Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary
confinement or two or three to a cell. In 1971 the NVA moved us from these
conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room.
This was,as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the
efforts of millions of Americans on
behalf of a few hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home.
One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian.
Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama.
He didn't wear a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old. At 17, he enlisted in
the US Navy. He later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School
Then he became a Naval Flight Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967.
Mike had a keen and deep appreciation of the opportunities this country and our
military provide for people who want to work and want to succeed.
As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to
receive packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs,
scarves and other items of clothing.
Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he
created an American flag and sewed on the inside of his shirt.
Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the
wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance.
I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day
now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell it was indeed the most
important and meaningful event.
One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically and
discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it. That evening
they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all of us,
beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours. Then, they opened the
door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could. The
cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four
naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room. As I said, we tried to clean
up Mike as well as we could.After the excitement died down, I looked in the
corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece
of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike
Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he
had received, making another American flag. He was not making the flag because
it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how
important it was to us to be able to Pledge our allegiance to our flag and
So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance you must never forget the
sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation
and promote freedom around the world.
You must remember our duty, our honor, and our country
"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."