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The Pledge of Allegiance was written to coincide with the 400th anniversary 1892 of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World, and also to unite the country under one flag. Creator Francis Bellamy’s boss told him to write something up for a youth magazine, but the version we recite today has undergone many changes.
The original pledge read, “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” When President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed Columbus Day a holiday on October 21, 1892, millions of school children across the nation said this pledge, and Bellamy got to hear it for the first time.
On today's "Pure Opelka," Mike Opelka shared that at the 1923 National Flag Conference presided over by the Daughters of the Revolution and the American Legion, they changed "my flag" to "the flag." So many immigrant children were coming to the United States, they were afraid they might get confused. The following year “of America” was added to lessen the confusion.
In 1942 the pledge was added to the flag code. In 1943 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Jehovah's Witnesses, saying no school child had to be compelled to say the pledge. Two children had been expelled from separate schools in different states for refusing on religious grounds.
The Catholic organization Knights of Columbus along with others went to congress and asked that “under God” be added just before "indivisible," which Dwight Eisenhower signed into law on June 14, 1954. This took place during the Cold War with the former Soviet Union when anti-Communist sentiment ran high in America. Communist governments are generally atheistic, which follows from the origins of communism.
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