The Pledge of Allegiance
The original Pledge of Allegiance was written over one hundred twenty-five years ago. It was published in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 8, 1892, in a youth magazine called the Youth’s Companion. Who wrote it? No one knows for sure. Some believe Francis Bellamy, editor of the Youth’s Companion, wrote it.
The twenty-two word recitation was written for schoolchildren to use during the national Columbus Day celebration on October 11, 1892. East coast leaders had planned many activities throughout the nation’s forty-four states to celebrate the big day.
On October 11, 1892, more than 12 million school children across the United States recited the pledge for the first time:
I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Reciting the pledge quickly became a daily routine in America’s public schools.
This original version of the pledge was used for twenty-five years before some changes were made. On Flag Day, June 14, 1923, the word “my” in “my flag” was changed to “the.” The following year, the words “of the United States of America” were added after the word flag.
On June 22, 1942, the pledge became official. The United States Congress included the pledge in the United States Flag Code. This was the first official approval given to words that had been recited by school children for fifty years. One year after receiving this official approval, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite the pledge as part of their daily routine.
In 1945, the pledge received its official title as “The Pledge of Allegiance.” The last change in the Pledge of Allegiance happened on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower requested that Congress add the words “under God.”
The pledge was first written as a twenty-two word recitation for a Columbus Day celebration. It is now a thirty-one word profession of devotion to the U.S. flag.
When you say the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America, you
Promise your loyalty to the flag itself.
Promise your loyalty to your own and the other forty-nine states.
Promise your loyalty to the government that unites us all;
- Recognizing that we are one nation,
- That we should not be divided or alone,
- And understanding that the right to liberty and justice belongs to all of us.