I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic
for which it stands,
with liberty and justice for all.
These 31 words, originally written by Francis Bellamy, have inspired, encouraged, and provoked passion in millions of people for over 125 years. It is more than a piece of cloth patterned with red, white, and blue stars and stripes; it represents the heartbeat of America.
On June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress, the flag of the United States was officially adopted. On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation, establishing June 14th as Flag Day, but it wasn’t until August of 1946 that Congress made it official. Although overshadowed by approaching 4th of July celebrations, Flag Day honors the cloth and all it symbolizes.
The flag was the inspiration for our national anthem, flies over skyscrapers, leads men and women into battle, is recognized all over the world, has passed through every nation on earth, was planted on the surface of the moon, is handed to grieving widows and children, and strikes fear and respect in the hearts of America’s friends and enemies. It is often misunderstood, under-appreciated, taken for granted, and abused.
In 1906, George M. Cohan wrote “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” a spirited march for his stage musical, George Washington, Jr. While the play drifted off into obscurity, the chorus lives on, and is a fitting salute to Flag Day.
You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high-flying flag,
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love,
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true
‘Neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
But should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.