Listening to the pledge of allegiance as it was intended

Posted on June 13, 2014 by Linda Gould, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

I recently heard the Pledge of Allegiance and heard every word differently, the way it was intended and the way it should be understood. In 1969, the entertainer and comedian Red Skelton did a skit called “The Old Man” that was about a teacher in 1923 explaining to schoolchildren the meaning of those words so they would not rush through the pledge without really hearing or understanding it.

Since the original was written before two states and two additional words were added, I took the liberty of adding them. I think this is worth sharing today:

I -- Meaning me, an individual, a committee of one.

Pledge -- Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self pity.

Allegiance --My love and my devotion.

To the Flag --Our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job.

Of the United -- That means that we have all come together.

States -- Individual communities that have united into 50 great states. 50 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common cause, and that's love of country.

Of America.

And to the Republic -- A republic, a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

For which it stands!

One nation

Under God -- Meaning , so blessed by God.

Indivisible -- Incapable of being divided.

With Liberty -- Which is freedom and the right of power to live one's life without threats or fear or any sort of retaliation.

And justice -- The principle and quality of dealing fairly with others.

For all. -- Which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine."


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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