|Tue, Sep 23, 2014 02:15 AM
|Issue of September 17, 2014
August 21, 2013 | 08:58 AM
Unless you've had to testify in a court of law, I imagine, like me, you rarely are asked to take an oath or make a pledge.
There is one pledge that is still said at some public gatherings that I'm afraid has some folks, mainly a younger generation, going through the motion and perhaps not even knowing what the proper words are.
This came to my attention one day last week while station surfing on my way to work. I prefer to listen to music while driving; however, on this particular day, I happened to catch a deejay who had asked a caller to recite the pledge of allegiance. Unfortunately, the caller — a female who sounded to be about college-age or perhaps slightly older — failed, big time. The deejay and his co-host gave the young woman considerable grief over her failure. Then, they took two more phone calls, both also from young-sounding females, who also couldn't say the pledge correctly. Granted, they were closer to the mark than the first caller but I felt embarrassment for them and they sounded genuinely embarrassed.
Do you think most people know the words to the pledge of allegiance?
History indicated that the pledge was first written in 1892 by a Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy, for an issue of the Youth's Companion magazine timed with Columbus Day. The year marked the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovering America.
That first pledge contained 22 words.
By 1942, following some modifications, the pledge grew to 29 words. That is the pledge many older Americans first learned. The pledge is the same as the one used today, except it did not yet contain the words "under God."
According to research, a push began in 1948 to have those two words added. But, it wasn't until 1954 that it was accomplished. The bill was signed into law on June 14 of that year. For those of you who know your holidays, you'll recall that June 14 is Flag Day.
But back to the radio callers.
After my initial dismay that these three people had failed at reciting a 31-word pledge, I began to think, "Why shouldn't they?"
Think about it. How often do you have the opportunity to say the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America?
Growing up, I recall reciting the pledge every morning of each school day. We said the pledge to the flag at Vacation Bible School then recited the pledge to the Christian flag. The pledge was said at my 4-H meetings.
Of the three public school corporations in Harrison County, two include reciting the pledge of allegiance at the start of each meeting. Our county council and commissioners also incorporate the pledge into their meetings. Farm Bureau gatherings also recognize Old Glory with the pledge. From the minutes we receive from the Homemakers clubs, it appears those members also value the pledge and repeat it monthly. There are likely other organizations that include the recitation of the pledge, but these are the ones that quickly come to mind.
But what if you don't attend any of those meetings? Where do you have the opportunity recite the pledge and be reminded of what it means? Is it really our young people's fault for not knowing the words?
We are "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" and must teach our history to our young people who will, one day, be our leaders.
I pledge to do what I can to help with that education. What about you?