A. The U.S. flag represents not just our country as a political unit, but the principles that bind us together as Americans, namely individual liberty and unalienable natural rights, endowed by our Creator, which the government shall not infringe upon. We pledge our allegiance to the flag to show our allegiance to the founding principles of our country as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Constitution.
Q. Has the Pledge of Allegiance always been exactly as it is today?
A. The pledge was originally composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892. It has been modified four times since then. The original pledge read, "I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all." According to the Congressional Research Service, "my flag" was changed to "the flag of the United States of America," in 1923, because the National Flag Conference believed the word "my" could cause confusion among new immigrants, who might take it to mean the flag of their native land. The words "under God" were added in 1954, two years before "In God We Trust" became the official motto of the United States. Today, the pledge 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."
Q. What is proper pledge etiquette?
A. According to the U.S. Code, the pledge should be rendered by standing at attention and facing the flag. Non-uniformed men should remove any non-religious headdress and render the civilian salute, which is the placement of the right hand over the heart. Those in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute.