The Pledge of Allegiance
History of the Pledge of Allegiance
The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy. It was first given wide publicity through the official program of the National Public Schools Celebration of Columbus Day, which was printed in The Youth's Companion of September 8, 1892, and at the same time sent out in leaflet form to schools throughout the country. School children first recited the Pledge of Allegiance this way:
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."
"The flag of the United States" replaced the words "my Flag" in 1923 because some foreign-born people might have in mind the flag of the country of their birth instead of the United States flag. A year later, "of America" was added after "United States."
No form of the Pledge received official recognition by Congress until June 22, 1942, when the Pledge was formally included in the U.S. Flag Code. The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. The last change in language came on Flag Day 1954, when Congress passed a law, which added the words "under God" after "one nation."
Originally, the pledge was said with the right hand in the so-called "Bellamy Salute," with the right hand resting first outward from the chest, then the arm extending out from the body. Once Hitler came to power in Europe, some Americans were concerned that this position of the arm and hand resembled the Nazi or Fascist salute. In 1942 Congress also established the current practice of rendering the pledge with the right hand over the heart.
The Flag Code specifies that any future changes to the pledge would have to be with the consent of the President.
The Traditional Method of Folding the Flag is as follows:
(A) Straighten out the flag to full length and fold lengthwise once.
(B) Fold it lengthwise a second time to meet the open edge, making sure that the union of stars on the blue field remains outward in full view. (A large flag may have to be folded lengthwise a third time.)
(C) A triangular fold is then started by bringing the striped corner of the folded edge to the open edge.
(D) The outer point is then turned inward, parallel with the open edge, to form a second triangle.
(E) The diagonal or triangular folding is continued toward the blue union until the end is reached, with only the blue showing and the form being that of a cocked (three-corner) hat.
Meaning of Flag-Folding Program
The flag-folding ceremony represents the same religious principles on which our great country was originally founded.
The portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing states our veterans served in uniform. The canton field of blue dresses from left to right and is inverted only when draped as a pall on the casket of a veteran who has served our country honorably in uniform.
In the U.S. Armed Forces, at the ceremony of retreat, the flag is lowered, folded in a triangle fold and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to our nation’s honored dead. The next morning it is brought out and, at the ceremony of reveille, run aloft as a symbol of our belief in the resurrection of the body.
Symbols for the Folds of the Flag
A nice video of the folding of the flag with the meanings https://www.facebook.com/UncleSamsMisguidedChildren.Net/videos/549738361888834/
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace, as well as in times of war, for His divine guidance.
The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we 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.
The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.
The 11th fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.
When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington and the sailors and Marines who served under Capt. John Paul Jones and were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the U.S. Armed Forces, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
The source and the date of origin of this Flag Folding Procedure is unknown, however some sources attribute it to the Gold Star Mothers of America while others to an Air Force chaplain stationed at the United States Air Force Academy. Others consider it to be an urban legend. It is provided as a patriotic service to all.
VA Clarifies Policy on Flag-Folding Recitations “13-Fold” Ceremony, Other Scripts Approved
To ensure burial services at the 125 national cemeteries operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs reflect the wishes of veterans and their families, VA officials have clarified the department’s policy about recitations made while the U.S. flag is folded at the grave site of a veteran.
“Honoring the burial wishes of veterans is one of the highest commitments for the men and women of VA,” said William F. Tuerk, VA’s under secretary for Memorial Affairs. “A family may request the recitation of words to accompany the meaningful presentation of the American flag as we honor the dedication and sacrifice of their loved ones.”
Traditional grave site military funeral honors include the silent folding and presentation of a U.S. flag, three rifle volleys and the playing of “Taps.”
Original versions of the United States Flag Code provided detailed information about U.S. Flag protocol, including penalties when provisions of the statute were violated. Many states used the U.S. Flag Code to write their own laws concerning the use of state flags. In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States Supreme Court upheld several state and federal court decisions striking down some of the provisions based on the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech. As a result, the U.S. Flag Code in its current form is more or less a set of “advisory guidelines” with few provisions for the violation thereof. Consequently, the Flag Code leaves more questions unanswered than it answers.
Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1
As Adopted by the National Flag Conference, Washington, D.C., June 14-15, 1923, and Revised and Endorsed by the Second National Flag Conference, Washington, D.C., May 15, 1924. Revised and adopted at P.L. 623, 77th Congress, Second Session, June 22, 1942; as Amended by P.L. 829, 77th Congress, Second Session, December 22, 1942; P.L. 107 83rd Congress, 1st Session, July 9, 1953; P.L. 396, 83rd Congress, Second Session, June 14, 1954; P.L. 363, 90th Congress, Second Session, June 28, 1968; P.L. 344, 94th Congress, Second Session, July 7, 1976; P.L. 322, 103rd Congress, Second Session, September 13, 1994; P.L. 225, 105th Congress, Second Session, August 12, 1998; P.L. 80, 106th Congress, First Session, October 25, 1999; P.L. 110-41, 110th Congress, First Session, June 29, 2007; P.L. 110-181, 110th Congress, Second Session, January 28, 2008; P.L. 110-239, 110th Congress, Second Session, June 3, 2008, P.L. 110-417, 110th Congress, Second Session, October 14, 2008; P.L. 111-41, 111th Congress, First Session, July 27, 2009; and P.L. 113-66 113th Congress, First Session, December 26, 2013.
§ 4. Pledge of Allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: “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.”, should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces not in uniform and veterans may render the military salute in the manner provided for persons in uniform.
§ 5. Display and use of flag by civilians; codification of rules and customs; definition
The following codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag of the United States of America is established for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States. The flag of the United States for the purpose of this chapter shall be defined according to sections 1 and 2 of this title and Executive Order 10834 issued pursuant thereto.
§ 6. Time and occasions for display
(a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
(b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
(c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.
(d) The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on
New Year's Day - January 1
Inauguration Day - January 20
Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday - third Monday in January
Lincoln's Birthday - February 12
Washington's Birthday - third Monday in February
Easter Sunday - (variable)
Mother's Day - second Sunday in May
Armed Forces Day - third Saturday in May
Memorial Day (half-staff until noon) - last Monday in May
Flag Day - June 14
Independence Day - July 4
National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, July 27
Labor Day - first Monday - September 1 - 7
Columbus Day - second Monday in October
Navy Day - October 27
Veterans Day - November 11
Thanksgiving Day - fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day - December 25
Other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
Birthdays of States (date of admission)
(e) The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
(f) The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
(g) The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
§ 7. Position and manner of display
The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
(a) The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.
(b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.
(d) The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.
(e) The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
(f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's right.
(g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.
(h) When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.
i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
(j) When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.
(k) When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker.
When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.
l) The flag should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.
(m) The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.
On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States or the death of a member of the Armed Forces from any State, territory, or possession who dies while serving on active duty, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff and the same authority is provided to the Mayor of the District of Columbia with respect to present or former officials of the District of Columbia and members of the Armed Forces from the District of Columbia. When the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, or the Mayor of the District of Columbia, issues a proclamation under the preceding sentence that the National flag be flown at half-staff in that State, territory, or possession or in the District of Columbia because of the death of a member of the Armed Forces, the National flag flown at any Federal installation or facility in the area covered by that proclamation shall be flown at half-staff consistent with that proclamation. The flag shall be flown at half-staff 30 days from the death of the President or a former President; 10 days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day. As used in this subsection -
(1) the term ''half-staff'' means the position of the flag when it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff;
(2) the term ''executive or military department'' means any agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of title 5, United States Code; and
(3) the term ''Member of Congress'' means a Senator, a Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico.
(n) When the Flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
(o) When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended vertically with the union of the flag to the observer's left upon entering. If the building has more than one main entrance, the flag should be suspended vertically near the center of the corridor or lobby with the union to the north, when entrances are to the east and west or to the east when entrances are to the north and south. If there are entrances in more than two directions, the union should be to the east.
§ 8. Respect for flag
No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.
Bunting of blue, white, and red always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkin or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. (Disposal of Unserviceable Flags Ceremony)
§ 9. Conduct during hoisting, lowering or passing of flag
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, those present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.
§ 10. Modification of rules and customs by President
Any rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag of the United States of America, set forth herein, may be altered, modified, or repealed, or additional rules with respect thereto may be prescribed, by the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, whenever he deems it to be appropriate or desirable; and any such alteration or additional rule shall be set forth in a proclamation.
Executive Order No. 10834 issued by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 24, 1959, amended the provisions of Title 4, U.S.C., Chapter 1 and established the 50 star Flag as the official Flag of the United States, effective on July 4, 1960.
The Flag Code - Modification of rules and customs by President
Executive Order No. 10834
August 24, 1959
Part I - Design of the flag
Section 1. The flag of the United States shall have thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white, and a union consisting of white stars on a field of blue.
Section 2. The position of the stars in the union of the flag and in the union jack shall be as indicated on the attachment to this order, which is hereby made a part of this order.
Section 3. The dimensions of the constituent parts of the flag shall conform to the proportions set forth in the attachment referred to in section 2 of this order.
Standard Proportions of the Flag
hoist(width) of flag - 1.0
fly (length) of flag - 1.9
hoist of union- 7/13
fly of union- .76
diameter of star - .0616
width of stripe - 1/13
Title 36, Subtitle I, Part A section 301 United States Code – National Anthem
(a) Designation.— The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
(b) Conduct During Playing.— During a rendition of the national anthem—
- (1) when the flag is displayed—
(A) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
(B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and
(C) all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
- (2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.
A Standard of Honor
A Standard of Honor The flag of the United States is a living symbol that calls to our spirit, reminding us of the greatness of America. We cherish and uphold it because it is the standard of honor under which we live. The proper name of the nation's symbol is the United States Flag; however, it is sometimes referred to as Old Glory. We view the flag with devotion, for it represents our national heritage of noble deeds, splendid accomplishment, and untold sacrifices which combined to establish the moral character of our country. Our flag is a symbol that makes our past one with the present and makes the present a foundation for tomorrow. It signifies a people dedicated to liberty, justice and freedom for all. It is our companion around the world. It summons confidence on sight. There is a magic in its folds that continually renews the hope that this nation, under God, will long be an example everywhere for all who love freedom with honor. We give homage to the flag because it stands for the courageous, earnest, and unselfish experiences of our people who have given us strength as a nation and pride as citizens. We respect our flag because we have respect for our fellow citizens, and because our love for country finds its center in our flag. The customs and traditions which surround the display and use of our flag are guides to the means by which we as proud and grateful citizens may demonstrate the ultimate respect for the flag of our nation. In honoring and saluting our flag we demonstrate affection for our nation, fellow citizens and the proud future we share.
Care and Respect
Flag respect is the base and foundation of all flag etiquette decisions. When millions of Americans display the Flag there are many violations of major and minor points of flag etiquette and protocol. All Americans should attempt to teach and not judge. Often, an effective way to teach is to guide the offender to the NFF Web site or send one of our Flag Etiquette brochures. You can order these on Shoppers Plaza which you can access from the menu above. The U.S. Flag should always be treated with the utmost care and respect. Remember, the flag represents a living country and, as such, is considered a living symbol. Always display the flag with the blue union field up -- never display the flag upside down, except as a signal of extreme distress. If upside down, this should be only in extreme distress. Always carry the flag aloft and free -- never carry it flat or horizontally in processions or parades. The exception to this is carrying very large flags in a parade that are too big to be flown from a staff or pole. Always keep the flag clean. Keep it safe from those who would not respect it, or do not know enough to do so, such as young children. The flag is a symbol of us all -- of all America. It is not a political symbol. It is a symbol that each American should respect, for it represents the honor, courage and sacrifice of those who struggled to preserve the ideals upon which our country was founded: Freedom, justice and opportunity for all. Contrary to other flags of the world, the U.S. Flag is the flag of the citizens – the people of all ages that make and keep America a stronghold and example of freedom.
Covering A Casket
When used to cover a casket or coffin, the flag should be placed with the blue field covering the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or touch the ground at any time. The flag should never be used as the covering for a headstone or other statue or monument. When taken from the casket, the flag should be formally and properly folded as a triangle with only the stars showing. Subsequently, the flag may be displayed in a storage case or it may be unfolded and flown. The ceremony of draping the casket with a United States Flag is used to honor veterans, patriotic citizens, and highly regarded state and national officials. Several organizations have defined the meaning of each fold of the flag. These are unique and original with each organization. None are official or included in the Flag Code.
Flags On Vehicles
The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.” (U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 7(b)) We thus recommend that the flag be attached to the right (passenger) side of a vehicle. We recommend that flags be removed from vehicles at night since they cannot be properly illuminated. The U.S. Code states, “…when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.” (U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 6(a)) Note: When flown on a motorcycle with other flags the American Flag should be placed on the right of all other flags, facing the direction of travel.
For additional information regarding flag etiquette please visit the following web site: www.usa-flag-site.org.