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Oath of allegiance to the US flag

The phrase, which has become an expression of loyalty, appeared in 1892. The gesture of an outstretched hand was canceled in 1942 due to associations with the Nazis.

Tom Poulter, George W. Bush and James Nicholson take an oath of allegiance during the celebration of Veterans Day. Photo by A. Sherry, Thurlby

Oath of allegiance to the flag

Eminem’s song, starting with the voices of children chanting an oath .

Oath to the flag – an expression of loyalty to the flag and the country. The modern version was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892 for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.

He was the author of The Youth’s Companion magazine and participated in the campaign to popularize the American flag. The magazine provided schools with flags, Bellamy wrote the text of the oath, and his colleague James Upham invented the “Bellamy salute” and explanations for pronunciation.

Schoolchildren had to stand in ranks “at attention”, equating to a flag and at pronouncing the words “my flag” stretch their arm forward. Subsequently, the US Army began to use the oath.

Initially, Bellamy considered in oath the words “brotherhood and equality”, but refused them because of inspectors who oppose the equality of women and African Americans

Washington marathon participants swear allegiance to US flag Photo by Elvert Barnes
Washington marathon participants swear allegiance to US flag Photo by Elvert Barnes

I swear allegiance to my Flag and the Republic, which he symbolizes, of one nation, indivisible, with freedom and justice for all.

Francis bellamy
original version of the oath

In 1923, the “National Flag Conference” called for replacing the words “my flag” with “the flag of the United States”, since for immigrants they had ambiguous meaning and could represent the flag of the country from which they came. Congress approved a replacement on June 22, 1942.

“Salute Bellamy”

Saying the oath was accompanied by “Salute to Bellamy” – pulling the right hand forward. On December 22, 1942, the congress banned the gesture due to its similarity to the Nazi salute. From this moment on, the speaker should hold his right hand at the heart. On June 14, 1954, by a joint resolution of the congress, the phrase “under God” was pledged to the oath of allegiance.


Pledge of Allegiance before starting elementary school in Silver Spring, Virginia Photo by Lance CheungPledge of Allegiance before starting elementary school in Silver Spring, Virginia Photo by Lance Cheung
Pledge of Allegiance before starting elementary school in Silver Spring, Virginia Photo by Lance Cheung

Saying the oath in schools

The making of an oath in US schools is regulated by the government of each state. In Texas, students instead of an oath to the flag of the United States can pronounce a pledge of allegiance to the state. In Mississippi, schoolchildren swear an oath once a month, in Missouri once a week. The US Supreme Court in 1943 ruled that children should not be forced to read the oath. The pronunciation of the oath is the choice of each student.

Students from Iowa swear an oath to the US flag
  • In 33 states, the oath of allegiance legally approved to utter. In eleven of them, the oath is pronounced without mentioning God;
  • In six states, the oath to the utterance is not recommended;
  • The remaining eleven is at the discretion of the school management.

In 2002, atheist Michael Newdow sued the district government. His daughter studied at a school in California, where an oath of allegiance was pronounced, containing the words “Before God.” On June 27, 2002, the Federal Appeals Court in California declared the oath unconstitutional. The judge said that the mention of God violates one of the paragraphs of the amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits Congress from promulgating laws establishing the state religion.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer reported that George Bush (George Walker Bush) considered the court’s decision “ridiculous.” Fleisher added that even the Supreme Court begins the meeting with the words “God save the United States and this noble court.” The White House instructed the Department of Justice to challenge the decision of a California court.

The Declaration of Independence contains four references to God or the Creator, each meeting of the congress begins with a prayer, and it is written on our money: “We trust in God.”

Ari Fleisher
White House representative

On June 14, 2004, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Newcast lawsuit was invalid and overturned the decision of the California court. The Supreme Court ruled that Nydudau had no right to sue the federal government — he was not the guardian of the daughter on whose behalf he filed a lawsuit.

On February 18, 2019, a school student in Florida refused to swear an oath to the US flag, entered into an argument with a teacher and tore off a lesson. The police filed charges against him disrupting school work and resisting the officer, and detained him. As the supervisory authority reported, the teacher did not know that the pronunciation of the oath is not necessary. The teacher was fired.

An oath to the US flag during the graduation class for the basics of diplomatic security for special agents of the US State Department. Photos of the US State Department.
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