by Nancy Pricer
The first time I watched Red Skelton recite Mr. Lasswell’s version of the Pledge of Allegiance I cried.
I watched it on a DVD, but you can find the video on the Internet.
Mr. Lasswell was one of Skelton’s teachers when he was a schoolboy and felt his students had come to regard the Pledge as a daily drudgery.
According to Skelton during a “Red Skelton Show” in 1969, Mr. Lasswell told his class: “I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it’s becoming monotonous to you.
“If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?
Me; an individual; a committee of one.
Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
My love and my devotion.
To the Flag
Our standard; Old Glory; a symbol of Freedom; wherever she waves there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts, Freedom is everybody’s job.
of the United
That means that we have all come together.
States of america
Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.
And to the Republic
Republic – a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people; and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
For which it stands, One Nation
One Nation – meaning, so blessed by God.
Incapable of being divided.
Which is freedom; the right of power to live one’s own life, without threats, fear or some sort of retaliation.
The principle, or qualities, of dealing fairly with others.
For all – which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine.
And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance.”
I’m sure when they recited it that time they said it with far more passion than just speaking memorized words.
Then Skelton added the following: “Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God.
“Wouldn’t it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools, too?”
Yes, it would be a pity, and there have been numerous efforts over the years to eliminate “under God” and even the Pledge itself.
Today the version of the Pledge is “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.”
We are a Christian nation. Our founding fathers were Christians. You’ll find God throughout our government, in our courts, on our money, in our schools and in our daily lives. For heaven sakes, our national anthem is “God Bless America.”
As Skelton used to say, “Good night, and God bless.”
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