Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chit Chat: A Humbling History Lesson

The other day, I was driving to work and the radio station's "Patriotic Moment" came on the air. A prerecorded voice read the Pledge of Allegiance...
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
[Insert sound of screeching breaks] Wait a minute, where's the "under God?" He just left out the "under God!" Did I hear that right? When did they change the pledge? This isn't the pledge I learned in school! How could I not know that the pledge was changed? " This rendition of the pledge really ruffled my feathers. (Note to self: Stop trying to get by glimpsing at the Yahoo headlines, watch the news more!)

Breathe...listen...learn. The person reading the pledge, went on to say that in his life time the words "under God" were added to the pledge and Alaska and Hawaii became states. Wouldn't it be ashame if the students quit learning the pledge because of these two words, he asked.

Still not convinced that the words "under God" weren't always in the pledge, I brought it up with my "lunch bunch" at work. Our conversation went something like this?

Girl 1: "What radio station were you listening to?"

Me: "Some country one...I don't know which one!"

Girl 2: "Oh, I bet it was "xyz!" They do that every morning. It is some Senator talking! He probably knows what he is talking about...I doubt he'd make that up."

Girl 1: "When did Alaska and Hawaii become states?"

Girl 2: "I don't know, how's your pasta?"

Girl 1: "Great, it comes with its own strainer on the container."

They clearly weren't as distressed over this as I was. And went home thinking that voice on the radio was smoking crack. So this morning, I did a bit of research. My findings:

  • the words, "under God" were added to the pledge in 1954.
  • Eisenhower was president at the time and signed the bill to change the pledge.
  • The man to first initiate the addition of "under God" to the Pledge was Louis A. Bowman (1872-1959).
Why, oh why, did I never learn this in school? Clearly, I must have been distracted the day this was taught. I apologize to the voice on the radio.

Oh, and by the way, if you were wondering...Alaska and Hawaii became states in 1959.


  1. It is amazing what some people do not know. It is amazing what does not alarm some people.

    We weren't founded on the grounds of freedom FROM religion...we were founded on the grounds of freedom OF religion.

    I find that quite alarming. On one hand - it's a free country, but on the other hand why can't people who disagree with saying under God either not say it, or like some I know, just sit it out?

    Thanks for stopping by. :)

  2. Wow, that is news to me as well. There are so many aspects of our life that we take for granted or expect to remain the same forever. We are definitely in a HUGE time of change. Great post. Good morning from SITS!!

  3. I remember learning a song in elementary school:
    "Alaska, our country is hoping you'll be
    Our 49th state,,,lada dada
    (I don't remember the rest of it! lol)

    just stopping by from SITS to say hi; hope you'll do the same.

  4. My grandmother told me that the pledge was tampered with - no one at school ever mentioned it! Like your blog; found you through SITS