PLEDGING ALLEGIANCE….I don’t really have

PLEDGING ALLEGIANCE….I don’t really have much of an opinion about the whole Pledge of Allegiance “under God” flap, so I’ll leave the legal and philosophical arguments to others. However, I would like to offer a literary opinion instead. Consider the original pledge:

…one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

And now the new and improved 1954 version:

…one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Did it not occur to anyone in 1954 that the second version really doesn’t scan well? The original wording clearly made the point that we live in a single, undivided country. The second version, with the word “indivisible” hanging off on its own, doesn’t really make any sense, and when the pledge is recited those three phrases (“one nation,” “indivisible,” and “under God”) are simply chanted as freestanding ideas not connected to each other. (Except for Jane, who’s a communist or something and has never said the pledge, all of us who recited it every day in school know exactly what I’m talking about.) Is it any wonder that kids usually don’t have the slightest idea what the pledge means?

UPDATE: Oops, I meant “Canadian,” not “communist.” It’s the same thing, though, isn’t it?

UPDATE 2: Now that I think of it, what’s the deal with the cadence of the spoken version of the pledge? Here’s how it’s usually recited by schoolkids:

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.

And here’s how it should be spoken:

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.

Anyone know where the singsong version came from?

UPDATE 3: I just asked my mother what it was like in the classroom when the phrase “under God” was added to the pledge, but she didn’t start teaching until 1955 so she has no firsthand knowledge. She did, however, tell me that in the 30s children were taught that upon saying the phrase “to the flag” they were supposed to extend their arms in the direction of the flag. During World War II, when this started to seem a little too “Sieg Heil”-ish for comfort, the practice was halted. At least, that’s how it went in Los Angeles. I’m beginning to get the idea that an entire book could be written about the lore and practice surrounding the Pledge of Allegiance.

UPDATE 4: OK, according to this website, the really original pledge was written in 1892 and went like this:

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

Later that year the word “to” was added:

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

It was changed in 1923 to this:

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 pledge was recognized by Congress in 1942, and “under God” was added in 1954 after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus.

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