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A Study Guide to:

Pledge of Allegiance


OUR FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES
IT'S HISTORY AND MEANING

 
     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.
 
The Pledge of Allegiance

 
     “I pledge allegiance”
 
     (I promise to be true)
 
     “to the flag”
 
     (to the symbol of our country)
 
     “of the United States of America”
 
     (each state that has joined to make our country)
 
     “and to the Republic”
 
     (a republic is a country where the people choose others to make
 
     laws for them -- the government is “of, by and for” the people)
 
     “for which it stands,”
 
     (the flag means the country)
 
     “one nation”
 
     (a single country)
 
     “under God,”
 
     (the people believe in a supreme being)
 
     “indivisible,”
 
     (the country cannot be split into parts)
 
     “with Liberty and Justice”
 
     (with freedom and fairness)
 
     “for all.”
 
     (for each person in the country...you and me!)
 
     The pledge says you are promising to be true to the
 
     United States of America!
 
History of the Pledge of Allegiance

 
     The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy. It was first given wide publicity through the official program of the National Public Schools Celebration of Columbus Day which was printed in The Youth's Companion of September 8, 1892, and at the same time sent out in leaflet form to schools throughout the country. School children first recited the Pledge of Allegiance this way:
 
     “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”
 
     “The flag of the United States” replaced the words “my Flag” in 1923 because some foreign-born people might have in mind the flag of the country of their birth instead of the United States flag. A year later, “of America” was added after “United States.”
 
     No form of the Pledge received official recognition by Congress until June 22, 1942, when the Pledge was formally included in the U.S. Flag Code. The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. The last change in language came on Flag Day 1954, when Congress passed a law, which added the words “under God” after “one nation.”
 
     Originally, the pledge was said with the right hand in the so-called “Bellamy Salute,” with the right hand resting first outward from the chest, then the arm extending out from the body. Once Hitler came to power in Europe, some Americans were concerned that this position of the arm and hand resembled the Nazi or Fascist salute. In 1942 Congress also established the current practice of rendering the pledge with the right hand over the heart.
 
     The Flag Code specifies that any future changes to the pledge would have to be with the consent of the President.
 
History Tips About Our Flag

 
     On June 14, 1777, in order to establish an official flag for the new nation, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act: "Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
 
     • Act of January 13, 1794 - provided for 15 stripes and 15 stars after May 1795.
 
     • Act of April 4, 1818 - provided for 13 stripes and one star for each state, to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state, signed by President Monroe.
 
     • Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912 - established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.
 
     • Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.
 
     • Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.
 
§ 5. The Flag Code - Display and use by civilians

 
     § 5. Display and use of flag by civilians; codification of rules and customs; definition The following codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag of the United States of America is established for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States. The flag of the United States for the purposes of this chapter shall be defined according to sections 1 and 2 of Title 4 and Executive Order 10834 issued pursuant thereto.
 
§ 6. The Flag Code - Time and Occasions for Display

 
     § 6. Time and occasions for display
 
     (a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
 
     (b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
 
     (c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.
 
     (d) The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on
 
     • New Year's Day - January 1
 
     • Inauguration Day - January 20
 
     • Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday - third Monday in January
 
     • Lincoln's Birthday - February 12
 
     • Washington's Birthday - third Monday in February
 
     • Easter Sunday - (variable)
 
     • Mother's Day - second Sunday in May
 
     • Armed Forces Day - third Saturday in May
 
     • Memorial Day (half-staff until noon) - last Monday in May
 
     • Flag Day - June 14
 
     • Independence Day - July 4
 
     • Labor Day - first Monday - September 1 - 7
 
     • Columbus Day - second Monday in October
 
     • Navy Day - October 27
 
     • Veterans Day - November 11
 
     • Thanksgiving Day - fourth Thursday in November
 
     • Christmas Day - December 25
 
     • Other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
 
     • Birthdays of States (date of admission)
 
     • State holidays
 
     (e) The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
 
     (f) The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
 
     (g) The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
 
§ 7. Position and manner of display

 
     (e) The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
 
     (f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's right.
 
     (g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
 
     (h) When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
 
     When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.
 
§ 8. The Flag Code - Respect for Flag

 
     § 8. Respect for flag No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
 
     (a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
 
     (b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
 
     (c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
 
     (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.
 
     Bunting of blue, white, and red always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
 
     (e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
 
     (f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
 
     (g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
 
     (h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
 
     (i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkin or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
 
     (j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
 
     (k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. (Disposal of Unserviceable Flags Ceremony)
 
§ 9. The Flag Code - Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing of Flag

 
     § 9. Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing of flag During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present except those in uniform should face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should render the military salute. When not in uniform, men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Aliens should stand at attention. The salute to the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.
 
§ 10. The Flag Code - Modification of rules and customs by President

 
     § 10. Modification of rules and customs by President Any rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag of the United States of America, set forth herein, may be altered, modified, or repealed, or additional rules with respect thereto may be prescribed, by the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, whenever he deems it to be appropriate or desirable; and any such alteration or additional rule shall be set forth in a proclamation.
 
     Executive Order No. 10834 issued by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 24, 1959, amended the provisions of Title 4, U.S.C., Chapter 1 and established the 50 star Flag as the official Flag of the United States, effective on July 4, 1960.
 
§ 10. The Flag Code - Modification of rules and customs by President

 
     Executive Order No. 10834
 
     August 24, 1959
 
     Part I - Design of the flag
 
     Section 1. The flag of the United States shall have thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white, and a union consisting of white stars on a field of blue.
 
     Section 2. The position of the stars in the union of the flag and in the union jack shall be as indicated on the attachment to this order, which is hereby made a part of this order.
 
     Section 3. The dimensions of the constituent parts of the flag shall conform to the proportions set forth in the attachment referred to in section 2 of this order.
 
Standard Proportions of the Flag
 

 
hoist(width) of flag 1.0
fly (length) of flag 1.9
hoist of union 7/13
fly of union .76
diameter of star .0616
width of stripe 1/13
 
Title 36, U.S.C., Chapter 10
§ 170. National Anthem; Star-Spangled Banner


 
     The composition consisting of the words and music known as The Star-Spangled Banner is designated the national anthem of the United States of America.
 
§ 171. Conduct during playing National Anthem

 
     During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT OUR FLAG
AVAILABE AT THE AMERCAN LEGION WEBSITE

 
 
 

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