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United States Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 1 year, 2 months ago


Cross-Link: American National Symbols, Flags, Monuments, Phrases and Songs



 eBook Connection: United States Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance 



The American flag


external image Flag_of_the_United_States.svg

  • The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America.


    • The blue square is officially known at the "union," as all of the states are bound in union.


  • The 13 stripes represent the original 13 British colonies that declared independence from the Great Britain. 


    • Nicknames for the flag are "The Stars and Stripes," "Old Glory," and the "Star Spangled Banner."


How Flags Unite (and Divide) Us, Michael Green TED Talk



external image Red_apple.jpg Learning Plans



  • Click here for lesson plans about the American flag from PBS.



  • Click here for a short video about the history of the United States Flag 




The Truth about Betsy Ross from Colonial Williamsburg reveals that there is little historical evidence to indicate who actually created the first flag.



Click here for a timeline of the American Flag


Long May She Wave: The True Story of Caroline Pickersgill and her Star-Spangled Creation. Kristen Fulton. Illustrated by Holly Berry. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2017


  • Two 13-year-olds (one white and one an African American indentured servant) along with adults sewed the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner



Key Supreme Court Cases and the Flag Salute


Minersville School District v. Golitis (1940)


  • Court held 8 to 1 that the state's interest in national unity allowed school boards to require students to salute the flag.


    • Click Here for OYEZ overview of Minersville School District v. Golitis 
    • Click here for a brief video explaining Minersville School District v. Golitis 


West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)


  • Court held 6 to 3 that students are protected from having to salute the flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance through the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.


    • Click Here for OYEZ overview of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette 
    • Click here for a brief video explaining West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette 



Engel v. Vitale (1962)



    • Click Here for OYEZ overview of Engel v. Vitale  
    • Click here for a brief video explaining Engel v. Vitale


Texas v. Johnson (1989)


  • Court held 5 to 4 that an individual has a right to burn the flag under the First Amendment free expression clause.


    • Click Here for OYEZ overview of Texas v. Johnson 
    • Click here for a brief video explaining Texas v. Johnson 



Why the Arbitrator Ruled in Favor of Colin Kaepernick and What This Means for the NFL, Sports Illustrated (August 30, 2018)


https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/louilr78&div=6&id=&page= This is a link to a scholarly article about kneeling for the National Anthem 



  The Rainbow Flag


Red = Life

Orange = Healing

Yellow = Sunlight

Green = Nature

Blue = Art

Violet = Human Spirit


Who Made the Rainbow Flag?


Quick video on the maker of the Rainbow Flag


      • First version of the flag appeared in 1978



Click here for more flags for the LQBITQ communities.




The Juneteenth Flag



Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day













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, under God.
Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.



Click here to listen to the pledge.


Click here to see a timeline of the pledge of allegiance's history.


47 States Require Reciting the Pledge -- but There are Some Exemptions, The Hill (April 2022)


  • There is no clear exemption in the state of Massachusetts. 

  • “Failure for a period of two consecutive weeks by a teacher to salute the flag and recite said pledge as aforesaid, or to cause the pupils under his charge so to do, shall be punished for every such period by a fine of not more than five dollars,” the law states.


What does the pledge mean?


The Pledge of Allegiance is viewed as a promise to respect the United States. Citizens do this by respecting the flag, a symbol of the United States. By promising to respect the "Republic, for which it stands", they are promising to be kind, giving, and fair. The United States is considered "indivisible" because everyone is joined together and cannot be separated. Everyone also is free and treated fairly.

The phrase "under God" is the source of debate and legal decisions.


Students pledging to the flag, 1899


Students pledging to the flag, 1899 

The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and socialist in 1892. It did not contain the phrase "under God." He hoped to revive patriotism by having schoolchildren recite a daily pledge to flag and country.


  • Adopted by Congress in 1942


  • The phrase "under God" was added in 1954 at the height of the anti-communist Red Scare.


  • In Engle v. Vitale (1962) the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a voluntary prayer recitation at the start of the school day.



  Click Here for Washington Post podcast analyzing the addition of 'Under God' into the Pledge of Allegiance 


Voluntary Participation



    • In the West Virginia v. Barnette case, the Court stated "compulsory unification of opinion" is antithetical to first amendment values.


Based on this case law, as it stands today, students who refuse to stand for the Flag Salute or the National Anthem to make a political statement or act out of some discernible religious belief ARE exercising their rights of free expression.





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