The words where altered to read “…to the flag of the United States of America…”. In 1942, the Pledge of Allegiance actually was entered into United States law, setting the stage for the official title to become ‘The Pledge of Allegiance’ back in 1945. By then, there was an entire set of policies and procedures put into place governing the display of the flag and its place in American Society. By this time, several wars had been fought and patriotism in America was at its highest level since the Revolutionary War.
As a result, the flag evoked feelings of strong emotion by all Americans, and there was a near unanimous contention that the public should recite it at certain times and occasions. One of those occasions was in the public school classroom. A final change to the Pledge, ironically, involved religion. It was not until 1954 that the words ‘Under God’ were added after that phrase ‘One nation’ in the pledge. Most scholars agree that this is likely when the debate began, although there was not much discussion about the change at first.
People mostly accepted and agreed with the changed. In explaining the rationale for this change in the first place, McCarthy (2005) wrote, “The amendment’s sponsors indicated that the purpose of the addition to the Pledge was to affirm the United States as a religious nation, distinguished from countries practicing atheistic communism” (p. 93). The change was actually reflected in the form of a federal law signed into effect by President Eisenhower. In doing so, he said, “In this way, we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most power resource in peace and war” (McCarthy, 2005, p.
93). In essence, it was decided about 60 years that the Pledge of Allegiance should reflect to all that America was a Christian nation and that all citizens agreed to that effect. At first, it appeared that the public would be in stark agreement with this idea. As the next section will argue, however, the feeling is not necessarily the same today. In the end, there are two parts to the argument supporting the idea that public school children should recite the pledge.
The first is civic responsibility. Americans, just as every other country in the world, should feel proud of their heritage and country. This is instilled from childhood, so the simple act of reciting the pledge can further that cause. The second is to better understand where we have come from as a nation and to remember the sacrifices that have been made.
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