What Do You Know About our Pledge of Allegiance?

For the Americans among us, when’s the last time you thought about your Pledge of Allegiance?

Look familiar?

Do you remember reciting it in grammar school? High School?  Could you recite it from memory today?

I could, and I imagine you could too.

September 8 is the anniversary of the Pledge’s debut. I won’t tell you how old it is until a bit later. First, here’s a little quiz on how our Pledge of Allegiance came about:


1.The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by a minister.

2. The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist.

3. The original Pledge of Allegiance was intended to be used by citizens of any country.

4. The original Pledged of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy.

Before I tell you which ones are True, I’ll mention that the original Pledge of Allegiance, was published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892, and was written by a staff member.

Ready for the answers?  How many did you believe to be TRUE?

From the ushistory.org site comes this opening sentence on the Pledge:

Written by Francis Bellamy (1855-1931) a minister who also considered himself a socialist.  His initial thought was that it could be used in any country.

So yes; all the sentences above are TRUE.

Here is the Pledge in its original (shorter) form:

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

Before this post, I hadn’t known there’s something called “the Flag Code” which describes how we are to treat the flag and behave during the recitation of The Pledge. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the original Pledge of Allegiance began with a military salute (for anyone in uniform) or a hand over the heart (for everyone else) and ended with a movement reminiscent of the Hitler era Nazi salute. This was changed during WWII.

There have been changes (additions) to the text over the years as well.

In 1923, the words, “of the United States 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.

And, in 1954, Congress added “under God” in response to President Eisenhower’s urging and over the objection of Bellamy’s daughter.

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.

For the grammar geeks among us, note there is no comma after “one nation.”



When was the last time you recited the Pledge of Allegiance? 

NEXT WEEK: We’ll revisit our pledge

12 Responses

  1. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I recited the Pledge of Allegiance in public, but I remember saying it at the beginning of every school day. Also, I couldn’t have said that Eisenhower was the president who urged Congress to add the words “under God,” but I do remember adding to the recitation when I was probably in 8th grade (had to do some quick figuring here.)

    Cute video, Janet!
    Marian Beaman recently posted…Slights and Offenses: How Do You Handle Them?My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Yes, Woody remembers when it was added too. What struck me as I was putting this together, is how it all began. I’d always assumed it was some act of Congress, something mandated. But it’s not. We recite it here in Vermont each year at the start of our Town Meeting, in early March. And there’s more to the back story, I’ll leave that for next week. Thanks for starting us off, Marian.
      Janet Givens recently posted…What Do You Know About our Pledge of Allegiance?My Profile

  2. Bette Stevens
    | Reply

    2 and 3 are new to me… Thanks for sharing!

  3. Janet Morrison
    | Reply

    Very informative! Thank you, Janet.

  4. joan z. rough
    | Reply

    Thanks, Janet. It’s fascinating.
    joan z. rough recently posted…Happy HolidaysMy Profile

  5. Terri Lyon
    | Reply

    That is very interesting, Janet. Thank you.

  6. Tim Fearnside
    | Reply

    Thanks, Janet. While I didn’t fare too well on the quiz, I did learn a few things. I wonder how many would react to learning that the pledge’s creator was a professed socialist? (With cries of “fake news!”, I imagine). It’s been many years since I recall reciting it publicly, although I did recite it to my daughters, who attended private school and weren’t required to say it every morning. My oldest, who transitioned to a public high school last year, had to learn it. Some might consider that a parental failing, but to be honest, I’ve never much cared for the notion of forcing children to take a loyalty oath — not to the highest principles to which we aspire or supposedly stand for — but to the flag, itself, right, wrong, or otherwise. This strikes me as something they do in countries led by dictators and tyrants. (The nazi-like gesture that apparently accompanied the pledge before WWII speaks volumes to this sentiment). But I generally keep this feeling to myself, since the pledge is so deeply engrained in the minds of many that to criticize its forced recitation feels like a hill I’d rather not die on.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Tim,
      I liked that quiz because it’s just another way to try to desensitize readers to the S word. You’ve touched on a number of topics I hope to bring in over the next few weeks. And, once again as with some past MUSINGS, the USA seems to be among very few countries that offer a Pledge of any sort. Had no idea when I began, this would turn into something akin to a series on American exceptionalism.
      Janet Givens recently posted…What Do You Know About our Pledge of Allegiance?My Profile

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