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Oaths & Pledges - Government

Comedian Red SkeltonRed Skelton's 'Pledge of Allegiance' - During his weekly CBS comedy variety television show, comedian Red Skelton recalled a lecture by his childhood teacher which he believed was as important as the Sermon on the Mount, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and Socrates’ Speech to the Students. On the January 14, 1969 installment of his program, Red recited these words:


[Audience applause subsides] Getting back to school, Getting back to school, I remember a teacher that I had. Now I only...I went...I went
tthrough seventh grade. I went to the seventh grade. I left home when I was 10 years old because I was hungry. I used to [audience laughter] This is true. I worked in the summer and I'd go to school in the winter. But I had this one teacher. He was the principal of the
Harrison School in Vincennes, Indiana. To me, this was the greatest teacher, a real sage, of my time anyhow. He had such wisdom. And we
were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance one day, and he walked over, this little old teacher. Mr. Lasswell was his name. Mr. Lasswell. [Red
assumes the demeanor of Mr. Lasswell and the audience laughs]. He says:

Red as Mr. Lasswell I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming 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's 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's 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.
Red as Mr. Lasswell And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance: [Mr. Lasswell recites the Pledge along with his students]

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.


  Closing commentary
Red: 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 be eliminated from our schools, too? [closing chorus of patriotic brass music and applause]

TRIVIA NOTE: The words "under God" were approved for inclusion into the pledge by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Flag Day, June 14, 1954.

When Chicago magazine writer, Hannah Miller (Jamie Lee Curtis) from the sitcom ANYTHING BUT LOVE/ABC/1989-92 was a youngster, she mixed up the US Pledge of Allegiance with the Crest Toothpaste pledge. It went: "I pledge allegiance to the flag which has been shown to be an effective decay prevented dentifrice when used in a conscientiously applied program of oral hygiene, with liberty and justice for all." Of course, those who used Crest had 21% fewer cavities.

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