I recently ran across an old article which reminded me of something I thought would be appropriate for Memorial Day, and I wanted to share it with you. The article was about Red Skelton’s “Pledge of Allegiance.” For those of you too young to know who Red Skelton was, he was a comedian whose family oriented humor made millions laugh for more than 70 years. On January 14, 1969, in one of his rare serious performances, he first introduced his version of the Pledge of Allegiance on THE RED SKELTON SHOW on CBS Television. His introduction was as follows:
“I remember a teacher that I had. He was the principal of the Harrison School in Vincennes, Indiana. To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time. He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance one day and he walked over–Mr. Laswell was his name–and he said, ‘I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester; and, it seems as though it has become monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word.
I – – Me; an individual; a committee of one.
Pledge – – Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
Allegiance – – My love and my devotion.
To the Flag – – Our standard; Old Glory; a symbol of Freedom; wherever she waves there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts, “Freedom is everybody’s job.”
United – – That means that we have all come together.
States – – Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.
And to the Republic – – Republic–a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people; and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
For which it stands
One Nation – – One Nation–meaning, so blessed by God.
Indivisible – – Incapable of being divided.
With Liberty – – Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one’s own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.
And Justice – – The principle, or qualities, of dealing fairly with others.
For All – – For All–which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine.’
Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: ‘Under God.’ Wouldn’t it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools, too?”
Since 1969, Red Skelton’s “Pledge of Allegiance” has twice been read into the Congressional Record of the United States and has received numerous awards. You can see a video of Red’s presentation below.