What the Flag Means
Oath of loyalty to the U.S. national emblem and to the nation it symbolizes. The idea for such a pledge is said to have originated with one of the editors of The Youth's Companion, a magazine for children. By proclamation of President Benjamin Harrison, the pledge was first used on Oct. 12, 1892, during Columbus Day observances in the public schools. The original wording was as follows:
I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands: one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The pledge was amended subsequently by the substitution of the words "the flag of the United States of America" for the phrase "my flag." The newly worded pledge was adopted officially on Flag Day, June 14, 1924. By joint resolution of Congress the pledge was further amended in 1954 by the addition of the words "under God." This is how the pledge now 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.
When reciting the pledge of allegiance, civilians should stand at attention or with the right hand over the heart. Men should remove their hats. Armed services personnel in uniform face the flag and give the military salute.