The Forgotten History of the Pledge of Allegiance & Bellamy Salute

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands — one nation, indivisible — with liberty and justice for all.

As we all know justice for all does not apply to many in the United States, from the color of your skin, to your sexual orientation.

Recently the media has been in an uproar ever since Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem, aka The Star-Spangled Banner.  Kaepernick is right, the National Anthem actually DOES celebrate the death and victory over slaves. (see lyrics below)

#FrancisScottKey wrote the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner”

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order designating “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem, and in 1931, the US Congress confirmed the decision. The last 3 verses are generally omitted in performances…Here the full song, written 200 years ago:

Here the full song, written 200 years ago:

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner—O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

 

Now we will share some information on Francis Bellamy, a 37-year-old minister who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance:

In addition to the words of the Pledge, Francis Bellamy devised a salute, The Bellamy Salute.

In its original form it read:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The original Bellamy salute, first described in 1892 by Bellamy, began with a military salute, and after reciting the words “to the flag,” the arm was extended toward the flag.

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.”

bellamy salute

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.

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In 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. At this time it read:

“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.”

In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy’s daughter objected to this alteration. Today it reads:

“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.”

 

Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country. So a jingle for a sales pitch for the flag It was originally published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892.

So it was a jingle, for a sales pitch for the flag of any country?? 

 

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In the book by author Richard J. Ellis “To the Flag: The Unlikely History of the Pledge of Allegiance,” Ellis wrote that the creation of the Pledge actually reflected more than a sales pitch but “two widespread anxieties among native-born Americans” at the time:

  • The fear of new immigrants (especially in the Northeast), and the complacency of post-Civil War Americans oblivious to the dangers facing the country.
  • Bellamy’s new Pledge, then, would serve two purposes, Ellis argues: to rekindle the patriotism and heroic duty of the Civil War years, and to Americanize the foreigner.
  • In 1923, the pronoun my was dropped from the Pledge of Allegiance, and the words the Flag of the United States of America were added.
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1st graders of Japanese ancestry pledging allegiance to the American flag. Photo by Dorothea Lange via Wikipedia.

bellamy salute

 

Later, during the 1920s and ’30s, Italian fascists and Nazis adopted a salute which had a similar form. By the mid-1930s, Americans had begun to notice similarities between the Bellamy salute and the “Heil Hitler” salute.

This resulted in controversy over the use of the Bellamy salute in the United States. In February 1942, some schools had altogether replaced the “Bellamy” in favor of an “Army salute.” It was officially replaced by the hand-over-heart salute when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.

 

Sources

Medium.com/The Weird History of the Pledge of Allegiance

USHistory.com

Social Media

Google Images

 

3 thoughts on “The Forgotten History of the Pledge of Allegiance & Bellamy Salute

  1. The pledge was the origin of the Nazi salute and Nazi behavior (that is one of the many astounding discoveries by the historian Dr. Rex Curry in the many books that cite his work Amazon, Kindle and other sources).

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