Business took me to Baltimore the last few days for a company meeting. Last night we were treated to an Orioles baseball game on a beautiful spring night. When the featured singer began to sing the national anthem, I stood as I always do. This time I went a step further that has not been my consistent habit as an adult but was as an elementary school kid in the 60’s. I put my right hand over my heart. It felt good and while standing there listening and looking at the flag on the scoreboard I re-adopted my childhood habit. I remembered learning the Pledge of Allegiance from reciting it daily with my hand over my heart at the start of each school day.
Red Skelton was a successful entertainer in the 60’s while I was in elementary school. He had a “family oriented” variety TV show with lots of content that would not be considered “politically correct” today. I suppose the way he explained Pledge of Allegiance to us kids then would be considered “incorrect” today as well. I don’t care and am grateful for how memorable he made it for me.
“I” = Me, an individual, a committee of one
“PLEDGE” = Dedicate all my worldly good to give without self pity
“ALLEGIANCE” = my love and 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 fifty great states. Fifty 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.
“TO THE REPUBLIC” = a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chose 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 place, one group of people, regardless of our race, color or religion
“UNDER GOD = with the guidance of a power greater yourself, however you define it
“INDIVISIBLE” = incapable of being divided
“WITH LIBERTY” = the principle or quality of dealing fairly with others.
“AND JUSTICE = fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards and law.
“FOR ALL” – boys and girls, it’s as much your country as mine.
(Updated to current version where necessary).
The gratitude I feel to be an American is strong. In spite of all that could be better with this country there is no better place for me. None! Mr. Skelton, thanks for the inspiration and the memory! I will always be grateful.
Be grateful for what you have,
not regretful for what you haven’t.