The Pledge of Allegiance we recite today is different than the one recited by the characters who populate the Maggie Sullivan mysteries, and by America’s real-life citizens throughout the 1940s.
Do you know how it differs?
It’s a matter of only two words.
Those words, and the change, were drilled into my brain because of my mother, one of the women whose stories, hijinx and attitudes inspired the Maggie Sullivan series. She was a teacher. The summer before I started first grade, she insisted that I be letter perfect on two things before the first day of school.
One was The Lord’s Prayer. I’ve always found her emphasis on that one a little odd since I don’t recall ever saying it in school. We weren’t a particularly religious family. We went to church on Sunday, I said “Now I lay me down to sleep…” at bedtime, and I had a nice little rhyming prayer I could say before meals if requested. Still, the exotic language of the King James version of The Lord’s Prayer delighted me.
The second thing I was to memorize was the Pledge of Allegiance. Memorizing was never a problem, and it wasn’t long. What made it stand out was my mother telling me that it had just been changed. Two words had been added, she said. Many people would probably still recite the old version. I wasn’t to correct them. (Why would she possibly think her only child would do such a thing???) I was simply to say it the right way.
In case you’re not familiar with the way the pledge was changed, here’s the version recited from 1923 to 1954:
“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.”
The new version, which coincidentally was issued at the height of the McCarthy Era, contained two new words:
Did they change America? Did they make allegiance to the flag stronger?
For further reading: http://www.ushistory.org/documents/pledge.htm
If you haven’t tried the Maggie Sullivan mysteries, you can read the first book in the series FREE.A .38, a nip of gin and sensational legs get 1940s private investigator Maggie Sullivan out of most scrapes,
until a stranger threatens to bust her nose, she’s hauled in on suspicion of his murder
and she finds herself in the cross-hairs of a sadistic crime boss. Amazon iBooks Kobo Nook