Baptist minister Frances Bellemy wrote the verse in 1892 and it was published in a children’s magazine called The Youth’s Companion. The first version of the pledge was simpler than the one we know today and read, ”I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The pledge has since gone through a few revisions, the first being in 1923 when it was updated to say, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In 1954, it was again revised to include the words “under God,” due to the urging of Dwight Eisenhower, who feared communism at the time. This addition has proven to be controversial in the years since its addition.
Prior to World War II, the pledge was recited with the right arm raised up, pointing toward the flag. Because this was a gesture used by Nazis during WWII, the gesture made while reciting the pledge has since been changed to putting the right hand over the heart while reciting the pledge.
To celebrate this day, you can reflect on what the words of the Pledge of Allegiance mean to you, learn more about the history of the pledge, and recite it when you are in the presence of those red, white, and blue stars and stripes!