Pledge of Allegiance

Pledge of Allegiance
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A new Colorado state law brought students to their feet, and will continue to do so every day.

The law requires all public school students from kindergarten through high school to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It was one of dozens of laws that went into effect.

There is no punishment for disobeying, and officials admit it may be hard to enforce. As one teacher put it, "if they just stand up, that's good enough for me."

There are also exemptions for students who aren't American citizens or whose parents write a note.

Colorado is now among 33 states requiring schools to include the pledge sometime during the school day.

But the American Civil Liberties Union says the requirement is unconstitutional because it mandates what children should say.

The Supreme Court may decide to take up the larger issues involved in the pledge later this fall.

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History of the Pledge of Allegiance

  • Every class day over 60 million public and parochial school teachers and students in the U.S. recite the Pledge of Allegiance along with thousands of Americans at official meetings of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Elks, Masons, American Legion, and others.

  • In 1892, a socialist named Francis Bellamy created the Pledge of Allegiance for "Youths' Companion," a national family magazine for youth published in Boston.

  • Daniel Ford and James Upham owned the "Youth's Companion", and in 1888 the magazine began a campaign to sell American flags to the public schools.

  • By 1892, "Youth's Companion" magazine had sold American flags to about 26,000 schools.

  • Bellamy, under the supervision of Upham, wrote the program for a Columbus Day celebration, including its flag salute, the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • The original version was: "I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands -- one nation indivisible -- with liberty and justice for all."

  • This program and its pledge appeared in the Sept. 8 issue of "Youths' Companion."

  • The original Pledge was recited while giving a stiff, uplifted right hand salute, criticized and discontinued during WWII.

  • The words "my flag" were changed to "the flag of the United States of America" because it was feared that the children of immigrants might confuse "my flag" for the flag of their homeland.

  • The phrase, "Under God," was added by Congress and President Eisenhower in 1954 at the urging of the Knights of Columbus.

Source: (The American Civil Liberties Union Web site)