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.
I - - Me; an individual; a committee of one.
Pledge - - Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without
Allegiance - - 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."
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 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 - - One Nation--meaning, so blessed by God.
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.
"And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge
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?"
The Pledge of Allegiance by Red Skelton
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Hello! Remember Me?
Some call me Old Glory, others call me the Star
Spangled Banner, but whatever they call me, I am your Flag - the Flag of
the United States of America. There has been something that has been bothering
me, so I thought that I might talk it over with you here today.
I remember some time ago, (I think it was Memorial
Day, or was it Veterans' Day?) that people were lined up on both
sides of the street for a parade. A high school band was behind me and,
naturally, I was leading the parade. When your Daddy saw me coming along
waving in the breeze, he immediately removed his hat and placed it
so that his right hand was directly over his heart.
And you - I remember you.
Standing there as straight as a soldier, you didn't have
any hat, but you were giving me the right salute. Remember, they taught
you in school to place your right hand over your heart, and little sister,
not to be outdone, was saluting the same as you. There were some soldiers
home on leave and they were standing at attention giving the military salute.
Oh, I was very proud as I came down your street that day.
Now, I may sound as if I am a little conceited, Well I
I have a right to be, because I represent you, the people
of the United States of America.
But what happened? I am still the same old flag. Oh, I
have a couple more stars added since you were a boy. A lot more stars added
since the beginning of this country, and and lot more blood shed since
that patroitic day so long ago.
Now I don't feel as proud as I used to. When I come down
your street, some people just stand there with their hands in their pockets
and give me a small glance and then look away. I see children running around
and shouting. They don't seem to know who I am.
Is it a sin to be patriotic anymore? Have some people
forgotten what I stand for? Have they forgotten all the battlefields
where men have fought and died to keep this nation free? When you salute
me you are actually saluting them!
Take a look at the memorial rolls some time. Look at the
names of those who never came back. Some of them were friends and relatives
of yours. That's whom you are saluting, not me!
Well, it won't be long until I'll be coming down your
street again. So, when you see me, stand straight, place your hand over
your heart and you'll see me waving back-- that's my salute to you. And
then I will know you remember who I am...
I'll wave to all of you, as you leave
when it's time for you to go.
As you sail from sea to shining sea
take the colors of your home.
Take me with you, wherever you go
keep me in your heart each night.
And if you forget what you're fighting for
remember me, in flight.
Take me out to the battleground,
and then tear me into shreds.
Wrap the bleeding wound with me,
and bind the aching head.
Plunge me into the coldest water
to soothe the fevered brow.
Tie me across the shattered limb,
I'll support it now.
Let me dry the homesick tear,
and hold closed, the gaping chest,
for here, in the field, where hope is lost
I am at my best.
And then, burn what is left of me,
for warmth into the night.
So I may bring comfort, where there is need
and courage, for the fight.
My red is deeper, for the blood you've shed.
My white is purer, for your pain.
My blue will be bluer than the deepest sea
when you come home again.
Then I'll rise to the top of the flagpole,
where my colors are always flown,
and from there, when the war is over
I'll wave, to welcome you home.
Ragged Old Flag
I walked through a county courthouse square,
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, "Your old courthouse is kinda run down."
He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town."
And that's a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it.
He said, "Have a seat", and I sat down.
"Is this the first time you've been to our little
I said, "I think it is." He said, "I don't like to
But we're kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag."
"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott
Sat watching it writing _Oh Say Can You See_.
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seams."
"And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on through.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag."
"On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II
She hung limp and low by the time it was through.
She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam."
"She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they've about quit waving her back here at
In her own good land she's been abused --
She's been burned, dishonored, denied and refused."
"And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land.
And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she's in good shape for the shape she's in.
'Cause she's been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more."
"So we raise her up every morning, Take her down
We don't let her touch the ground And we fold her