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Commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance by Red Skelton a Real A American Hero

As A Schoolboy, one of Red Skelton's teachers explained the words and meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to his class. Skelton later wrote down, and eventually recorded, his recollection of this lecture. It is followed by an observation of his own.
I
- - 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.

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

States - - Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.

And to the Republic - - 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 - - One Nation--meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible - - Incapable of being divided.

With Liberty - - Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one's own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice - - The principle, or qualities, of dealing fairly with others.

For All - - For All--which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite 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. Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God. Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools, too?

Red Skelton

Pledge Of Allegiance & Red Skelton ++  http://www.redskelton.com/pledge.htm

Official Pledge of Allegiance Salute Used to be a ‘Hitler Salute’ ? Etc. Yes, that title is correct. Read on, intrepid history-seekers.The pledge of allegiance was originally written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a socialist magazine writer. When he wrote it for an children’s magazine, he also described a salute that he thought would be appropriate during its recital.

The pledge was aimed towards children, and the magazine also gave free flags away to schools, where the pledge was originally recited. The salute they were taught to give, with one stiff arm outstretched toward the flag, was deemed the “Bellamy salute” after its creator (who had gotten the idea from a salute that the Romans had done).

In the early 1940s, it was noticed that the salute bore a resemblance to a certain other salute being used in Germany at the time (which was based off of the same original Roman salute). As a result, it was formally replaced by Congress with the now-customary hand-on-heart during the pledge.

Below are three photographs showing the old salute, now in the Library of Congress, which were taken in May 1942 in Southington, Connecticut, just one month before the new salute became official. These photographs were taken by Charles Fenno Jacobs, a photojournalist who was at the time employed by the US government.

At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute -- right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.

— From The Youth’s Companion, 65 (1892): 446–447.

Related posts: The First Openly Gay Elected Official in the US Was Shot to Death + After Mein Kampf, Hitler Wrote a Second Unpublished Book + Color Photography Technology Has Existed For About 150 Years + Members of the Electoral College Have Voted Their Own Way 158 Times + Kodak Invented the Technology That Later Forced Them Into Bankruptcy

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If you read the above entry, you would notice that we wrote “In the early 1940s, it was noticed that the salute bore a resemblance to a certain other salute being used in Germany at the time (which was based off of the same original Roman salute).”

The above post is not suggesting that Americans who saluted that way were pro-Hitler in any way, although ironically in fact some Americans in the late 1930s and early 1940s accused Americans who saluted the flag that way and didn’t want to go to war of being Nazis. See this article about the Bellamy Salute on Wikipedia for more information about this, especially the part about Charles Lindbergh.

Jean Weiss, probably the best reason for filtering the population by IQ before allowing comments online!!!! That comment brings new meaning to ‘RTFQ’, come on America, where do you breed these people. Is there a US Dept of Cloning which has gone unspeakably wrong or is it the lack of perception of an outside world which makes a sizeable proportion of you oxygen thieves?!? (answers on a postcard)

Why do these things make everyone so crazy? So some kids stuck their hands out to honor the frag and then Hitler started using it. Did it never acure to anyone that if we had continued using it and rubbed Hitler’s nose in it maybe he would have stopped using it. Why do we have to be the ones to back down just so some one isn’t offended. Boo Hoo, we should have told Hitler to back off or we would kick his ass. Oh wait, we did kick his ass.

Look, I’m a history teacher. And the pledge of allegiance was not born in 1892 by whatever schmuck this article suggests. It was created in 1860 as the Civil War was under way. Hence the phrase, “one nation… indivisible with justice for all.” And in the thirties there was a huge pro hitler movement in the United States and the rest of the world for that matter. The guy was Time’s man of the year. He did a lot of great things before he unleashed his craziness all over the world.

Actually it was not an ancient Roman salute. Everyone should be careful with wikipedia and not cite it as reference material. Even the wikipedia article does not say (usually) that it was an ancient Roman salute (however wikipedia changes by the milisecond, and is often deliberately misleading on this issue). See the work of Dr. Rex Curry (author of “Pledge of Allegiance Secrets”). The Pledge was the origin of the stiff arm salute adopted later by the National Socialist German Workers Party.

Francis Bellamy did not gain the lift the gesture from the so-called “ancient Roman salute” myth. The stiff-armed gesture arose because Bellamy began the pledge (1892) with a military salute that was then extended out toward the flag. The Pledge was the origin of the salute adopted later by the National Socialist German Workers Party, as shown in the discoveries of the symbologist Dr. Rex Curry (author of “Pledge of Allegiance Secrets”). Bellamy was also a socialist in the Nationalism movement long before German National Socialism. Francis Bellamy and Edward Bellamy influenced the National Socialist German Workers Party and its dogma, symbols and rituals (e.g. robotic collective chanting to flags et cetera). No one should cite wikipedia as it is an anonymous bulletin board. Even wakipedia does not say (usually) that it was an ancient Roman salute (however wikipedia changes by the millisecond, and is often deliberately misleading on this issue).

Francis Bellamy did not lift the gesture from the so-called “ancient Roman salute” myth. The stiff-armed gesture arose because Bellamy began the pledge (1892) with a military salute that was then extended out toward the flag. In practice, the 2nd gesture was performed palm down because people merely pointed the military salute at the flag. The Pledge was the origin of the salute adopted later by the National Socialist German Workers Party, as shown in the discoveries of the historian Dr. Rex Curry. Bellamy was also a socialist in the Nationalism movement long before German National Socialism. Francis Bellamy and Edward Bellamy influenced the National Socialist German Workers Party and its dogma, rituals (robotic chanting on command) and symbols (the use of the swastika as crossed S-letters for “socialism”). No one should cite wikipedia as it is an anonymous bulletin board. Even wakipedia does not say (usually) that it was an ancient Roman salute (however wikipedia changes by the millisecond, and is often deliberately misleading on this issue). Bellamy did not use an older Roman salute as there was no older Roman salute.

Adolf Hitler: Man of the Year, 1938 In Time Greatest single news event of 1938 took place on September 29, when four statesmen met at the Führerhaus, in Munich, to redraw the map of Europe. The three visiting statesmen at that historic conference were Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain, Premier Edouard Daladier of France, and Dictator Benito Mussolini of Italy. But by all odds the dominating figure at Munich was the German host, Adolf Hitler.

Führer of the German people, Commander-in-Chief of the German Army, Navy & Air Force, Chancellor of the Third Reich, Herr Hitler reaped on that day at Munich the harvest of an audacious, defiant, ruthless foreign policy he had pursued for five and a half years. He had torn the Treaty of Versailles to shreds. He had rearmed Germany to the teeth— or as close to the teeth as he was able. He had stolen Austria before the eyes of a horrified and apparently impotent world. (See pictures of Hitler Exhibit in Germany.)

All these events were shocking to nations which had defeated Germany on the battlefield only 20 years before, but nothing so terrified the world as the ruthless, methodical, Nazi-directed events which during late summer and early autumn threatened a world war over Czechoslovakia. When without loss of blood he reduced Czechoslovakia to a German puppet state, forced a drastic revision of Europe's defensive alliances, and won a free hand for himself in Eastern Europe by getting a "hands-off" promise from powerful Britain (and later France), Adolf Hitler without doubt became 1938's Man of the Year.

Most other world figures of 1938 faded in importance as the year drew to a close. Prime Minister Chamberlain's "peace with honor'' seemed more than ever to have achieved neither. An increasing number of Britons ridiculed his appease-the-dictators policy, believed that nothing save abject surrender could satisfy the dictators' ambitions.

Among many Frenchmen there rose a feeling that Premier Daladier, by a few strokes of the pen at Munich, had turned France into a second-rate power. Aping Mussolini in his gestures and copying triumphant Hitler's shouting complex, the once liberal Daladier at year's end was reduced to using parliamentary tricks to keep his job.

(See pictures inside Hitler's bunker.)

During 1938 Dictator Mussolini was only a decidedly junior partner in the firm of Hitler & Mussolini, Inc. His noisy agitation to get Corsica and Tunis from France was rated as a weak bluff whose immediate objectives were no more than cheaper tolls for Italian ships in the Suez Canal and control of the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railroad.

Gone from the international scene was Eduard Benes, for 20 years Europe's "Smartest Little Statesman." Last President of free Czechoslovakia, he was now a sick exile from the country he helped found. Pious Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek, Man of 1937, was forced to retreat to a "New" West China, where he faced the possibility of becoming only a respectable figurehead in an enveloping Communist movement. If Francisco Franco had won the Spanish Civil War after his great spring drive, he might well have been Man-of-the-Year timber. But victory still eluded the Generalissimo and war weariness and disaffection on the Rightist side made his future precarious.

See "YouTube's 50 Best Videos: Hitler's Downfall."

See pictures of Adolf Hitler's rise to power.

The Bellamy salute is the salute described by Francis Bellamy to accompany the American Pledge of Allegiance, which he had authored. During the period when it was used with the Pledge of Allegiance, it was sometimes known as the "flag salute". During the 1920s and 1930s, Italian fascists and Nazis adopted a salute which had the same form, resulting in controversy over the use of the Bellamy salute in the United States. It was officially replaced by the hand-over-heart salute when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.

The inventor of the saluting gesture was James B. Upham, junior partner and editor of The Youth's Companion.[1] Bellamy recalled Upham, upon reading the pledge, came into the posture of the salute, snapped his heels together, and said "Now up there is the flag; I come to salute; as I say 'I pledge allegiance to my flag,' I stretch out my right hand and keep it raised while I say the stirring words that follow."[1]

The Bellamy salute was first demonstrated on October 12, 1892 according to Bellamy's published instructions for the "National School Celebration of Columbus Day":

The initial civilian salute was replaced with a hand-on-heart gesture, followed by the extension of the arm as described by Bellamy.

In the 1920s, Italian fascists adopted the Roman salute to symbolize their claim to have revitalized Italy on the model of ancient Rome. This was quickly copied by the German Nazis, creating the Nazi salute. The similarity to the Bellamy salute led to confusion, especially during World War II. From 1939 until the attack on Pearl Harbor, detractors of Americans who argued against intervention in World War II produced propaganda using the salute to lessen those Americans' reputations. Among the anti-interventionist Americans was aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh. Supporters of Lindbergh's views would claim that Lindbergh did not support Adolf Hitler, and that pictures of him appearing to do the Nazi salute were actually pictures of him using the Bellamy salute. In his Pulitzer prize winning biography Lindbergh, author A. Scott Berg explains that interventionist propagandists would photograph Lindbergh and other isolationists using this salute from an angle that left out the American flag, so it would be indistinguishable from the Hitler salute to observers.

In order to prevent further confusion or controversy, United States Congress instituted the hand-over-the-heart gesture as the salute to be rendered by civilians during the Pledge of Allegiance in the United States, instead of the Bellamy salute.[2] This was done when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.[3][4]

There was initially some resistance to dropping the Bellamy salute, for example from the Daughters of the American Revolution,[5] but this opposition died down quickly following Nazi Germany's declaration of war against the United States on December 11, 1941.

For anyone even remotely involved in social media the phenomenon of the popular meme and the viral post is nothing new. Pictures of angry cats, Sean Bean, and Patrick Stewart offer people a near continuous diet of diatribes and statements meant to entertain, inform, and express a view. Although hardly noteworthy, these memes are largely flashes in the cyber pan, streaking across a person’s screen, before dying a quick death by being buried in an ever accumulating avalanche of posts, tweets, and hashtags.

Yet, occasionally there are certain concepts that seem to take hold, spreading throughout the cyber world like a virtual beach ball kept afloat by continuous shares and repostings. One particular sentiment, especially popular during the more patriotically centered holidays, is the decrying of America’s loss of pride, tradition, and honor by not having the Pledge of Allegiance recited more frequently and by more people in the United States.

As one such popular sentiment, shared typically by conservative sites, goes—“We no longer do this for… fear… of Offending Someone!!! Let’s see how many Americans will re-post this. Would be even better if we saw heads bowed & hands folding together!!!!!” This is then typically accompanied by a picture of dutiful school children staring intently at a U.S. flag, mid sentence in a loyalty oath to a nation-state.

Another example, all the more convincing because of the persuasive use of capitalized letters, states— “I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!  MY GENERATION GREW UP RECITING THIS EVERY MORNING IN SCHOOL WITH MY HAND ON MY HEART.  THEY NO LONGER DO THAT FOR FEAR OF OFFENDING SOMEONE.  LET’S SEE HOW MANY AMERICANS WILL RE-POST.”

At work in these statements are multiple meanings, all of which communicate much deeper problems than pictures of angry cats, Sean Bean, or Patrick Stewart could ever offer. The first is that at one time America, and as a result Americans, were much more patriotic, that they loved America much more and were willing to communicate that love through swearing their allegiance to a flag. This in and of itself is nothing more than a commentary on possible changes in popular nationalist attitudes but what is particularly striking is the charge of why Americans no longer pledge their allegiance. “They no longer do that for fear of offending someone.” Who that someone may be is never fully explained, but the reader is left with the impression that they are unpatriotic, delinquent, and most likely have a different value system than the “true” Americans.

This, of course, ignores the reality that the American Pledge of Allegiance is spoken quite regularly by Americans. In many states, schools daily have a reciting of the Pledge, and in some cases students are forced or heavily coerced to partake in the ritual. Then there are the sporting events, public meetings, and other functions that make regular use of the Pledge of Allegiance. All of these points heavily suggests the Pledge is a practice very much alive and well in American cultural life.

Yet social-conservatism, like many political movements, does well when there is a perceived threat to the group. Therefore enemies are identified, real or imaginary will do, that seek to destroy the traditions “we” have honored as a collective people. Besides being empirically inaccurate, however, the argument for the Pledge ignores another context typically forgotten by American conservatives, namely historical analysis.

For many the familiar citation of adding “under God” to the Pledge in 1954 is a common point to return to, but there is much more to the history of the Pledge of Allegiance than merely noting when the god of Abraham was drafted by Uncle Sam to somehow help defeat the godless Russian communists.

Specifically this concerns the author of the original Pledge of Allegiance and the original salute that was utilized by Americans to show reverence to a national symbol. The author, for those who don’t know, was a man by the name of Francis Bellamy, a Socialist and writer. Hired by the Youth’s Companion (a children’s magazine) Bellamy and one of the other employees became deeply involved in the “schoolhouse flag movement” which sought to distribute flags to every school in the United States. The eventual Pledge has undergone changes throughout the years but one of the most striking is the change that occurred in the method of popularly saluting the flag.

As the Youth’s Companion noted in 1892, the proper etiquette for saluting the flag was as follows—

At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute — right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.

For those who have difficulty visualizing this photos have survived capturing what would eventually become known as the “Bellamy Salute.”

The pictures have the ability to elicit shock by viewers the first time they see them. There, in all its candidness, are American school children engage in what appears to be a “Hitler salute” to the American flag. “How can this be?” people ask. “Why would Americans, especially from the supposed glory days, be doing such a thing?”The answer is not particularly complex, unless one’s historical understanding is informed solely via Facebook memes.
Far from being a revelation that Americans were sympathetic to Nazi Germany, or fascism, or Hitler all it shows is a historic oddity that two seemingly different nation-states would prescribe the same method of swearing nationalist allegiances. There are some who argue that the similarities arise from Bellamy and later the fascists of Europe modeling their salutes off of a variance of the “Roman salute” but this far from conclusive.

What we can say with greater certainty, however, is that when social-conservatives decry the fabricated forgetting of the practice of pledging allegiance they are not fully aware of the entire history of the practice. Therefore, we in the present are confronted with a bizarre case of having friends and family insist that we engage in a practice that honors our history without actually being aware of that history (the Bellamy Salute was eventually “retired” in WWII, for obvious reasons, in favor of the hand-over-heart practice).

We are also confronted with another troubling standard, which is that a significant amount of people believe having children mindlessly repeating a loyalty oath is somehow reflective of a people who value freedom, liberty, and independence. Is the state merely a guardian of Constitutional principles, or is it something to be venerated and quasi-worshiped? There is technically no “right” answer to this, instead it is a question of opinion. One which the people of Europe during WWII answered with an alarming cost.

It should be stressed that engaging in the Pledge is not even a remote suggestion that the U.S. will slip into a Nazi-like state. To argue such an opinion would be as ludicrous as claiming the Pledge, Christmas, and Christians are under assault. But it does mean that far too often the calls to “honor our history” are actually an emotionally charged appeal to accept a particular political philosophy. Removed from actual historical analysis these arguments are largely ignorant of the history they claim to sustain and only thinly aware of some of the more alarming conclusions their jingoistic views could be morphed into.

Failing to learn a particular piece of history does not automatically ensure its repetition, but it does mean that people run a higher risk of being indoctrinated into a political viewpoint when certain arguments are made. Nostalgia, personified, is little more than a disorderly drunk, rambling about a time that never really existed. As Americans continue to pledge their allegiance to a flag, hand over heart, they perhaps would do well to realize that by the simple act of extending that arm, palm downwards, they would be engaged in an alarming practice, not foreign to American history. They would not be Nazis, no more than UPS drivers are for wearing brown shirts, but perhaps the visualization would stir some thought as to why they feel obliged to take part in the repeating of a loyalty oath to one particular nation-state.

Nazi salute & Nazi behavior from US’s Pledge of Allegiance continues to mess up the worldGovernments mandated the Nazi salute in the past, then governments banned the Nazi salute. Governments are insane and must end.

In the US and Germany and other countries, the Nazi gesture was mandated by law. The US’s Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the salute and of the horrid behavior that accompanied it (see the discoveries of the historian Dr. Rex Curry).

People who refused to perform the salute and the robotic chanting to the flag on cue in government schools were persecuted. Children were taken from parents, people were beaten, arrested, imprisoned, and even lynched.

The idiocy of government continues with this news story:

Portuguese prosecutors are investigating a Jewish prison guard and five of his colleagues for making a Nazi salute.
The six men participated in a demonstration last month against the government’s austerity measures in front of Portugal’s parliament in Lisbon, Diario de Noticias, a daily newspaper, reported earlier this week. The newspaper did not name the men, but reported that one of them was Jewish.
The decision to investigate the men came almost a month after the demonstration, in which a crowd of government employees, mostly male and many wearing masks, were seen singing the national anthem and waving their arms in what prosecutors said were Nazi salutes that violated Portuguese law against the display of fascist symbols.
The Jewish prison guard told the daily he was “indignant” over the decision.
A spokesperson for the group told the sapo.pt news site that the investigation was baseless as none of the guards had any connections to the extreme right, and that it was a way for the government to punish them for participating in the protest rally.

Thank you for your research and attention you have given this matter. Most sincerely. Why especially? Because, I can recall my time in Kindergarden, and the first and second grade at Lincoln school in Spokane, Washington, and in the 3rd grade at Sacret Heart School in Spokane. People just do not believe me when I tell them I can very cleary remember having to give the pledge of alliengence to the flag with the upraised right hand at a 45 degrees. We were supposed to do it with our palms facing up. But, as kids who had seen the movies that were starting to come out about Germany, Hitler, and the nazi thing, a lot of us did the salute with palms facing down just to imitate the Nazi salute just for the heck of. And, guess what? No body really fussed about some of us who were giving the Pledge of Allegiance the “German way” with our extended arms with palms down. Even then, before the expression “cool” existed, most of us kids (mostly boys, but there were few girls as well) thought it was cool to give the straight upraised arm salute. Oh, yeah, it was there for sure, I remeber doing it. Frankly, sorry to admit this, but when the hands over the heart pledge thing came in, it was sort of whimpy, and not nearly as much fun or exciting as the upraised hand pledge. The nuns teaching at Sacred Heart in the early 1940′s were, I believe, a little bit faschist, and militaristic. At 1200 noon, we all had to get on our knees to say the rosary, afterwhich, we all (including the girls) were given the commnad to stand, do an about face, and stand at attention while the school loundspeaker played a rousing John Philip Sousa march. Then sister would eventually tell us to start “marking time” so that we would in step with the 2/4 time of the march music. When it our turn to march out into the hallway, sister gave the command to “march” as she opened the door so we could march out to join up with the other classes marching in the hallway. The 8th grade got to march out first, and stayed in formatation while the other grades 7th down to 1st grade would march out and join up in the mass school formation. When the march music would finally stop, we would all stand at attenion for about 20 seconds or so until Sister, Mother Superior would dismiss the formation. And, we were finally allowed to go to lunch. We had to also do this same marching ritual at the end of the school day. This routine was done, twice a day, for every…. god…. damned…. freaking day of the school week. I think that Mr. Bellamy would have been proud to see this routine as it was practiced at Sacred Heart Parochial School in Spokane, Washington in the early 1940′s.

Oh, by the way, I just pulled out of my book shelf to my right…. and old, old, dirty, grity copy of “LOOKING BACKWARD” by Edward Bellamy. First copyright says 1887 by Ticknor and Company. The Introduction written by Heywood Broun. Further proof I actually have the book, first words in Chapter 1 “I FIRST saw the light in the city of Boston in the year 1857.”What!” you say, “eighteen fifty-seven? That is an odd slip. He means nineteen fifty-seven, of course.”
Great book. If found it some years ago, just laying in the middle of dirt road. It look like an interesting find. So I picked up, brought home, and I am still reading it.

Sincerely,
William W. Burns

Portuguese prosecutors are investigating a Jewish prison guard and five of his colleagues for making a Nazi salute.

The six men participated in a demonstration last month against the government’s austerity measures in front of Portugal’s parliament in Lisbon, Diario de Noticias, a daily newspaper, reported earlier this week. The newspaper did not name the men, but reported that one of them was Jewish.

The decision to investigate the men came almost a month after the demonstration, in which a crowd of government employees, mostly male and many wearing masks, were seen singing the national anthem and waving their arms in what prosecutors said were Nazi salutes that violated Portuguese law against the display of fascist symbols.

The Jewish prison guard told the daily he was “indignant” over the decision.

A spokesperson for the group told the sapo.pt news site that the investigation was baseless as none of the guards had any connections to the extreme right, and that it was a way for the government to punish them for participating in the protest rally.

Pledge Of Allegiance & Red Skelton ++  http://www.redskelton.com/pledge.htm

Commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance by Red Skelton a Real A American Hero

As a schoolboy, one of Red Skelton's teachers explained the words and meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to his class. Skelton later wrote down, and eventually recorded, his recollection of this lecture. It is followed by an observation of his own.

I - - 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.

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

States - - Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.

And to the Republic - - 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 - - One Nation--meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible - - Incapable of being divided.

With Liberty - - Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one's own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice - - The principle, or qualities, of dealing fairly with others.

For All - - For All--which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite 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. Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God. Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools, too?

Red Skelton



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