Title: I Pledge AllegianceI Pledge Allegiance
Author: June Swanson
Illustrator: Rick Hanson
Pages: 40
Reading Level: Beginner
Star Rating: ★★★

The 1890s were bustling times. The country was at peace again, factories were beginning their boom, the west was expanding rapidly – and it was the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America.

The Youth Companion decided it wanted to commemorate the prosperity that had been achieved by America. It encouraged children to celebrate a new holiday called ‘Columbus Day’. On that day, school children were to stand before their flag and recite a simple salute that read

I pledge allegiance to my Flag
and to the Republic
for which it stands –
one Nation indivisible –
with liberty and justice for all.

The children were taught what the pledge meant – including the big words like allegiance, Republic, and indivisible. Over time, more and more people began to recite the pledge. Columbus Day became a national holiday. Changes were made to the original wording. And finally, in 1942 Congress made the pledge official.

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.

Conclusion. A good account of the story behind the pledge – not overly apologetic or nationalistic.

Review © 2015 Laura Verret

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