From the Wise Master (June, 2010)

posted May 19, 2015, 3:01 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 19, 2015, 3:01 PM ]

June 14th is Flag Day

Rather than write a story about the flag itself though, I thought I’d write a little about the pledge of allegiance. Most everyone knows some or all of the history of our flag but the history of the pledge if somewhat more obscure.
The Pledge of Allegiance was originally composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892 Bellamy was a Baptist minister and Christian socialist, and he was also cousin to the noted utopian novelist Edward Bellamy.
Bellamy’s pledge was first published in The Youth’s Companion on 8 September 1892 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America.
It read:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Phrasing was chosen to ensure that reciting the pledge would not exceed 15 seconds.
Originally, it was supposed to be accompanied by the Bellamy salute in which the children were supposed to extend their hands toward the flag palm down and slowly rotate them until their palms were up at the end of the pledge.
Franklin Roosevelt changed the salute to the now familiar hand-over-heart on 22 December 1942 because the Bellamy salute was deemed to be too similar to the Nazi salute.
Notice also that the original pledge contained the phrase “my flag” rather than “the flag of the United States of America.” This was because the pledge, as envisioned by Bellamy, was supposed to be international in nature. He felt that any child should be able to use it to pledge allegiance to the flag of his or her own country. Also, any reference to God was deliberately omitted even though the author was a minister! The pledge very nearly did contain the words “equality” and “fraternity” though. One can only wonder what induced Bellamy to leave those out. 
The pledge has been changed three times in its history.
In 1923 the words “my country” were changed to “United States” and “of America” was added on 
22, June 1942 for the benefit of immigrants. 
The phrase "under God" was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance on 14, June 1954, by a Joint Resolution of Congress amending §7 of the Flag Code enacted in 1942.
Today we have a pledge that Bellamy would still recognize although one might argue that its meaning might not exactly match its author’s original intent.
“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.”

Happy Flag Day!
Bryant Day
Wise Master