110 Year-Old Pledge Has Been Changed Several Times

July 7, 2008 - 7:20 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The United States Pledge of Allegiance, as we know it, has been spoken since 1892. The words "under God" were added to the pledge through an act of Congress later signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954.

One historical account credits Francis Bellamy, a Boston Baptist minister for writing the original Pledge of Allegiance in August 1892. He is said to have written the pledge while serving as chairman of a national committee of educators and civic leaders who were planning Columbus Day activities that year.

The pledge was first published in the September 8, 1892 issue of "The Youth's Companion," a leading family oriented magazine of that period.

After the Columbus Day celebration, the pledge became a popular daily routine in America's public schools.

But on Flag Day, June 14, 1923, the pledge received major attention when many Americans gathered in Washington for the first National Flag Conference.

At the time, there were concerns that because of the number of immigrants living in the United States, the words "My Flag," which were then part of the pledge, might be confusing. So, the pledge was changed to read, "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States."

The following year, 1924, the pledge again was changed to read, "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America."

The pledge remained "unofficial" until 1942 when Congress included the pledge in the United States Flag Code. This was the first official sanctioning of the words, even though they had been recited for almost fifty years.

One year after receiving the official sanction, the U.S. Supreme Court, responding to a challenge by Jehovah's Witnesses, 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: The Pledge of Allegiance.

The last change was made on Flag Day, June 14, 1954 when President Eisenhower signed into law a bill passed by Congress that added the words "under God."

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