|Pledge to the American Flag
I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America,
and to the republic
for which it stands,
one nation under God,
with liberty and justice
On Feb. 27th, 2003, I received an e-mail about a new Pepsi can which was due to come out with the 1924 version of the Pledge (without 'under God' in it). This is one of those silly rumors that gets started with only a half truth of data to back it up. To begin with, it wasn't Pepsi. It was Dr. Pepper. And the can came out in 2001. It showed the Statue of Libery with the phrase 'One nation . . . indivisible.' Only three words were used from the Pledge to carry the theme that we were united: all faiths, all colors, all Americans. If you need more information, please go to: Pepsi or Dr. Pepper.
These words so familiar to every American school child were written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a staff member at Youth's Companion, a boy's magazine, as part of a Columbus Day celebration. Or so the story goes. Rev. Bellamy had been pressured into leaving his Baptist church in Boston because of his liberal sermons on equality (not just for African Americans, women couldn't even vote yet). A member of his congregation, Daniel Ford, had hired him as an assistant in 1891 to help with the most popular family magazine of its day. Francis also served as chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association. And it was in this capacity that he prepared the Columbus Day celebration program. The original Pledge was worded not to offend this committee. It 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." In 1924 the National Flag Conference changed 'my Flag' to read 'the Flag of the United States of America.' This is believed to be due to pressure from the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1954, Congress added the words 'under God,' to the Pledge. This was influenced by the Knights of Columbus. Bellamy himself thought it should have read 'with equality, liberty, and justice for all.' Who knows? This change may yet come -- hopefully in our hearts.