The First

The Making and Remaking of the Pledge of Allegiance

On the 130th anniversary of the Pledge of Allegiance, revisit this older show that Greg Young produced for his spin-off The First, featuring Tom Meyers as the guest voice!

THE FIRST PODCAST The Pledge of Allegiance feels like an American tradition that traces itself back to the Founding Fathers, but, in fact, it’s turning 125 years old in 2017.

This is the story of the invention of the Pledge, a set of words that have come to embody the core values of American citizenship. And yet it began as part of a for-profit magazine promotion, written by a Christian socialist minister!

In this podcast listen to the Pledge wording evolve throughout the years and discover the curious salute that once accompanied it.

Featuring: Tom Meyers as the voice of Francis Bellamy, the inventor of the pledge!

To get this episode, simply download it for FREE from iTunes or other podcasting services.

Or listen to it straight from here:

Francis Bellamy, the author of the Pledge of Allegiance:

What the Bellamy salute used to look like

Other forms of the salute had students lift their hands palms up, not down.

San Francisco, California, 1942: Flag of allegiance pledge at Raphael Weill Public School (Geary and Buchanan Streets). The original caption to this photo read: “Children in families of Japanese ancestry were evacuated with their parents and will be housed for the duration in War Relocation Authority centers where facilities will be provided for them to continue their education.”

Department of the Interior. War Relocation Authority. Courtesy US National Archives

Young scouts on a hike. Photo by Roy Perry, 1940. Most people were saluting the flag in other methods than the ‘Bellamy salute’ which remained in the Flag Code until the 1940s.

Courtesy Museum of the City of New York

Second graders pledge allegiance in an elementary school in Rockport, Massachusetts,  February 1973

Deborah Parks, photographer. Courtesy US National Archives

From the Youth’s Companion in September 1892, outlining the day’s ceremonies and the first use of the pledge.

A copy of the Youth’s Companion from 1899:

My beautiful picture

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