Flag Day and the Pledge…Getting it Right

When I was a kid, growing up in Nebraska in the 1960’s, every day in school, we stood, put our right hand over our heart and said the Pledge of Allegiance.

Someone was always picked to lead the Pledge and that was an honor.

Sadly, in many schools today, that is no longer the case.

Today, there are those who try to make some sort of statement by NOT saying it at all. Rather than stand they sit. Rather than speak, they remain silent.

But for those who do recite the Pledge of Allegiance, I want to bring something to your attention. I think it’s important and maybe, after reading this, so too will you.

There is a very good chance you’re saying it incorrectly.

It’s not your fault. You get the words correct but, many say it the wrong way. It’s how you were taught as a child to memorize the Pledge and, well, it’s just not correct.

Go ahead and say it now…Aloud or in your head. Go on…recite the pledge.

Many have added commas where commas simply do not belong.

Let me help.

Many of you said it this way:

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.

That would be incorrect.

Try it this way without the misplaced commas and see if this doesn’t change not only the cadence but the meaning itself.


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.

Do you hear the difference? I know it’s not easy because the cadence is so different that what we were taught but, it’s correct .

The way we were taught…I pledge allegiance…To the flag…Of the United States of America…Makes three separate thoughts of it. It’s not 3 separate thoughts. It’s a singular statement.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…

We were taught…And to the republic…for which it stands…Making 2 separate thoughts of what should be another singular statement.

And, to the republic for which it stands…

We were taught…One nation…Under God…No, not 2 separate statements…Make it one statement…

One nation under God…


With liberty and justice for all.

The way most of us were taught, we recite the words. By removing the commas and altering the cadence, we can recite the words and feel their meaning. Getting the words right is the easy part…Speaking them with the true meaning intended…That may take a little practice but in the end, it’s well worth it.

Today is Flag Day. This is the 235th anniversary of Old Glory. It’s been through a great deal hasn’t it?

There are many iconic moments for our flag and I suspect we all have certain ones which stand out. For me, there are 5.

The idea of Betsy Ross presenting that very first flag with its stars in a circle. What a moment that must have been.

The next would be seeing our flag on the morning after a night long battle. That is what moved Francis Scott Key and I can well understand his emotions.

After that, in my mind, comes Iwo Jima and that indelible image of Marines raising it atop that rocky high ground.

Personally, I will never forget when Old Glory was first placed on the moon. What Armstrong and Aldren did just by setting foot there nearly paled in comparison. Walking there was a milestone for man but that flag…THAT was a symbol of NATIONAL pride.

Finally, in my mind, was seeing our flag after 9-11 at ground zero. Terrorists took lives and made rubble of buildings but they did not nor could they, take from us the spirit for which that flag stands.

Those are the moments which cross my mind when I say the Pledge of Allegiance and they are moments which remind me of where we started, what we have endured, those who fought and died for the freedom and liberty our flag represents, what we have achieved beyond what we thought were our limitations and what cannot ever be taken away from us.

That too is why, when I recite the Pledge, I ascribe to it, more than words.

Happy Flag Day Patriots and Long May She Wave!!!

6 thoughts on “Flag Day and the Pledge…Getting it Right

  1. Hi Craig,
    First, I appreciate your intentions in the post. Unification and pride can be important when used properly. They can also be bad when used incorrectly or in ignorance.
    Second, the United States were not actually designed to be a nation…we were designed as a Union of States that delegate specific/limited powers to a Federal gov’t (which was created to be an agent of the States). As you know, the Federal gov’t has blown through those limitations, usurped authority, and has repeatedly enacted tyranny in many forms. You might be asking what this has to do with the pledge. Most importantly…while being indivisible certainly conjures up honorable intentions and a positive spirit, we’re not “indivisible” as a Union. To assert the (people of the) states do not have the sovereign authority to “alter or abolish” gov’t, re-assume powers delegated to the Federal gov’t (i.e. read VA, NY, RI ratification resolutions), or decide to separate…this wholly misses what was ratified in the 18th century (i.e. the Constitution). This concept is vital to understanding the problems we face today (i.e. Washington DC is THE problem).
    Finally, it would behoove everyone to learn a little bit about the history of the pledge of allegience. It’s very telling to learn who created it (i.e. a national socialist), why it was created (e.g. flag sales/nationalism), and how it has morphed over the years (e.g. the hand wasn’t originally over the heart, it was in the air as in a “hitler-salute).
    Saying the pledge of course doesn’t mean one is bad or wrong; almost every person I know says the pledge because it embodies/symbolizes something great, pure, etc. However, it’s important to reflect on these issues and determine if the pledge might be further solidifying inaccurate history and further ensconcing nationalism and centralized powers, where a separation of powers should be celebrated.
    In liberty,

    PS. We’re planning to cover this sensitive topic on a show later this year.

  2. Beautiful Craig. Growing up in Minnesota in the 50s-60 I learned it the same way and have always recited it the same way. What your saying, makes complete sense to me. Thank you kindly. I am alread doing it your ‘new’ way and it does sound much differently, but has truer meaning. Thank you for that and happy Flag Day to you too and all of your readers.

  3. You forfot “indivisible”…..

    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.

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