Archived Story

“One nation (with no comma) under God”

Published 4:03pm Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I’ve noticed something at a couple of city meetings recently and want to give praise to City of Troy officials for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance the way it was meant to be proclaimed.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a city council meeting and smiled to myself when no pause was given between “one nation” and under God.” Call me an insane grammar lover, but that is the way the pledge is written. At last night’s council meeting it reminded me to give local leaders a pat on the back.

Cue the history lesson.

Francis Bellamy visited with President Benjamin Harrison to ask him to back the idea of a flag flying over every school and the teaching of patriotism in all schools. On June 21, 1892, the President signed a proclamation that read: “Let the National Flag float over every school house in the country and the exercised be such as shall impress upon our youth the patriotic duty of American citizenship.”

Bellamy, in turn, wrote these famous words that were first printed in “Youth’s Companion” magazine on Sept. 8, 1892: “I pledge allegiance to my flag of the United States and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

During the second National Flag Conference in Washington D.C. (Flag Day) in 1924, the words “of America” were added. House Joint Resolution 243, approved by President Dwight Eisenhower on June 14, 1954, also added the words “under God.”

The pledge, as amended, still reads: “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.”

No comma, no pause. Good on ya, local leaders!


Robbyn's Nest

by Robbyn Brooks

A catch-all news blog for what’s happening in Troy and beyond. Have photos or an idea, you’d like to share? E-mail

  • aveteran

    “…reciting the Pledge of Allegiance the way it was meant to be proclaimed.”

    I suggest that you might benefit more from a history lesson. It’s incredible how you could get this utterly wrong, especially after including how the Pledge was originally written, and meant to be recited – “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” NO “god”, which was added during the McCarthy witch hunts as a poke at the “godless” Communists. The only thing that adding “god” does, in case you haven’t been watching the news, is to DIVIDE us as a nation. While you are free to recite the Pledge in any manner you wish, so is this veteran, who will only recite the correct, godless, pre-1954 version.

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    • Robbyn Brooks

      Dear “aveteran,”

      I am sorry you misunderstood the purpose of my blog. It certainly wasn’t to incite a religious debate, or misplaced fury from you.

      If you look back, I am sure you’ll notice I started this blog by saying I was an “insane grammar lover.”

      Although I would never deny my personal Christian beliefs, I do believe in a person’s right to choose their faith – or not have any at all.

      The proper way to recite the pledge as is written and included in Title 4, Chapter 1 of the U.S. Code was the topic of my blog.

      I never mentioned any thoughts as to God, other than it’s included in the pledge.

      If the pledge read “One Hawaiian Tropic bikini team under the sun,” I would have still praised the city council for leaving out the pause between “team” and “under.”

      Since you brought up how the addition of “God” came to be in the pledge, I am sure you already know that many groups, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution and Columbus Knights (to name a few) were already using an amended version of the pledge as early as 1948.

      “Under God” was first notably used publicly when the pledge was said at a meeting held on Lincoln’s birthday as a nod to the words Lincoln used in the Gettysburg Address. Although not all manuscript versions of the address mention “under God,” reporter’s transcripts of the speech do.

      You are right though, In 1954, Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God” in response to the perceived threat of secular Communism.

      (I’m not saying the words should or should not have been added to the pledge, only sharing with folks who happen to read that bit because I found it interesting.)

      I also find it interesting that your response is so anti-religious and you say you choose to recite the “godless” version, but you failed to note the version you hold dear was written by a Baptist minister and Christian Socialist.

      Since “aveteran,” you posted under the fake or made-up-for-one-time use e-mail address referencing religion and spam, I can see you must have glossed over the entire purpose of my post and went straight for the word God.

      My post had nothing to do with religion. It was written about a comma.

      Also, this post wasn’t spam. Spam is unsolicited e-mail sent to a mass group of people. You clicked on this site to read the post.

      All that said. Thank you for your service. I hold the utmost respect for all veterans (including my father, grandfather, uncle and several cousins).

      Best in the new year! From “one reporter under the roof of an office building who does believe in God, but doesn’t say you have to.” (There’s a comma in that one.)


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  • aveteran

    I didn’t get the impression that the story was about a comma. It really gave far more of the impression of cheering on the council for emphasizing “under god”. Words on a screen don’t always convey the nuance and intonation intended.

    Despite his religious affiliation Francis Bellamy, the author of the original Pledge, did not include any reference to “god”, and his descendants vigorously opposed the addition of “under god” to the Pledge as antithetical to Bellamy’s ideals.

    You may attack me as “anti-religious”, but “anti-forced-religion” is far more accurate. Funny that you spend more space in your response devoted to the religious aspect of the Pledge than the placement of the comma – do you now see why I reached my conclusion about the original article?

    As for the false and assumptive reference to my “fake or made-up-for-one-time use e-mail address”, looks like you jumped to the wrong conclusion as well. I’ve had it for years. I also didn’t call your article spam – you drew another wrong conclusion and took offense at the wording of the e-mail address. But thank you for exposing me to spam, viruses, and hostile e-mails by posting it.

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    • Robbyn Brooks


      You are right about words on a screen conveying the wrong message sometimes.

      My purpose wasn’t to attack, just to respond and defend a little bit. I would never want someone to feel bullied or less than others because of race, religion, gender, size or shape. And that is the truth.

      I honestly just took note of the way the pledge was said, with no comma pause, because my ears don’t hear it that way, that often.

      I did come to the assumption you’d made up your e-mail address for this post. That is my mistake and I’ve removed it.

      I don’t know if you are a Pike County-area resident, or if you just came to my blog by way of twitter, but you know my real name and even what I look like. So, if our paths do cross one day, please do say, “hello.” I love to meet new and interesting people. Especially ones who are challenging and have strong opinions.

      If you do speak on day, I’ll tell you something personal that makes this whole exchange a real hoot.

      Best in the new year!


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