As a schoolboy, one of Red Skelton’s teachers explained the words and meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to his class. Skelton later wrote down, and eventually recorded, his recollection of this lecture. It is followed by an observation of his own.
From The Red Skelton Hour, CBS TV, January 14, 1969
On January 14, 1969, Red Skelton touched the hearts of millions of Americans with his “Pledge Of Allegiance“, in which he explained the meaning of each and every word. Red Skelton’s recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance” was twice read into the Congressional Record of the United States and received numerous awards.
RED SKELTON: “I remember this one teacher. 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 and he walked over. Mr. Lasswell was his name… He said”: “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:
Me; an individual; a committee of one.
Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
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.
of the United
That means that we have all come together.
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 — meaning, so blessed by God.
Incapable of being divided.
Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one’s own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.
The principle, or quality, of dealing fairly with others.
For All — which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine. And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance:
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.
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?”
Red Skelton’s recitation of the pledge of allegiance is available on DVD as part of the Red Skelton Christmas DVD.
Editor’s note: sadly, Red Skelton was prescient – the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (the most overturned court in the United States of America) has done exactly that.
Courtesy of YouTube.com, here is a video clip of Red Skelton reciting the Pledge of Allegiance: