Pledge of Allegiance
In the United States, the Pledge of Allegiance is recited on many formal occasions, including at the beginning of the school day, and the opening of certain kinds of meetings. When the pledge is recited, civilians face the flag and place their right hands over their hearts. Men remove any non-religious headdress and hold it in the right hand. Military personnel in uniform remain silent and salute the flag. Under many public circumstances, in a display of patriotism, the pledge will be followed with the singing of "America the Beautiful," the National Anthem, or "The Stars and Stripes Forever".
The pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy of Boston, a Baptist minister and socialist. Bellamy had the original pledge printed in the magazine titled The Youth's Companion. The pledge was well-received, and it was printed in leaflet form and was distributed throughout the country to schools. It honored the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Millions of students recited the pledge and saluted the flag in school events. Congress adopted it in 1942 as the official American pledge of allegiance.
The phrase "under God" was added in 1954, by a bill signed into law by President Eisenhower on June 14, 1954 (Flag Day), largely driven by the lobbying of the Knights of Columbus as a means of differentiating America from the "godless" Communists of the USSR. The phrase has been the source of some controversy, as self-professed atheist Michael Newdow has argued the matter in a case involving his daughter before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was dismissed because Newdow, a noncustodial parent, lacked standing in the matter.
"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"