Do you know the pledge by heart?
When you were a little kid, you were probably taught to stand each morning, put your hand over your heart, and recite a patriotic pledge while facing a little American flag affixed to the wall. You probably didn’t think too much about it, since it was just a normal part of your day, but this long-standing pledge has come under a lot of fire lately for a little phrase that was included in it about 50 years into the lifespan of the pledge.
Even though you’ve been hearing it your entire life, you may not have known about these “Pledge of Allegiance” facts.
“The Pledge of Allegiance” was written by Francis Bellamy. A New Yorker born in 1855, Francis went to public schools, attended the University of Rochester, then became a Baptist preacher like his father.
Bellamy eventually took a job at Youth’s Companion Magazine where he was tasked with coming up with some patriotic content for an upcoming event.
A New Holiday
America was celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas at the Columbian Exposition in October 1892, and Bellamy was asked to create a patriotic speech for school children to recite on that day. The magazine was using his patriotic rhetoric to help sell American flags to schools.
For the occasion, Bellamy went straight to Congress and then President Benjamin Harrison to make this day a true holiday. That day became Columbus Day.
Bellamy wrote the famous pledge on an August night. It took him two hours of “arduous mental labor” to come up with the rhythmic and simple, yet intense, pledge.
He wanted to emphasize an allegiance to America because Civil War animosity was still high in the country.