With liberty and
justice for all ...
Thursday, July 03, 2014 5:00 PM
Once upon a time we children of the 'Greatest Generation' would go to school where our first effort of the day was to stand and salute our flag with the 'Pledge Of Allegiance'. We recited our pledge as one...children living in the United States of America. Yes, children of today still carry on this tradition too. But today this celebration of patriotism seems to be fraught with anger, controversy, questioning and concern. What is the fuss all about? Why are some folks claiming to be more patriotic than others? Why are we questioning having this time honored tradition recited in our schools, national events, and in fact any event that takes place in the United States?
By doing so are we embracing 'one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all'?
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy. When originally published in The Youth's Companion (September, 1892) Mr. Bellamy a socialist minister, had hoped the pledge would be used by citizens in any country. Indeed in its original form the pledge was widely applicable to many nations. It read as: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Our nation's pledge still reads similarly today as: "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."
We added the words "the United States of America", "God", and eliminated "my". With that one would think our revised Pledge of Allegiance has further reaching unity within our country and its people. Instead public opinion and social media would almost have us think these are "fighting words". Fighting words that only serve to defy our pledge of being 'indivisible'.
In examining our pledge further, and with careful study of these simple words, one could and should take the view that these words were meant to create unity. If we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, we are all seeking the same purpose. Despite our small differences as people, we are all here because we believe all should have the opportunities to be the best we can be.
We pledge because we are proud of these vows. We pledge because these words mean we have the ability to work hard and be the best we can be. We pledge that all of us have opportunities to work together to make our nation and society a place of pride.
Liberty and justice for all is our given right as citizens of this proud nation. Whether we were born here, arrived here illegally or legally from other lands we are here because embrace these rights.
Human rights and unity have their origins in many different societies and situations. England created the Magna Carta in the 13th Century. The French proclaimed human rights for its people in the 18th Century. Mexico claimed independence for its people from Spain in 1821. Libya's people are realizing liberty and justice in the 21st century after decades of ruthless, fearful rule. All of these countries have or had their infancy in democracy. All inevitably have the on-going growing pains of uniting to rule for the greater good of all.
These pains are the ebb and flow of a rule of the people, by the people and for the people. Within this flow are the challenges of fighting off the imbalances of corruption, greed, discrimination and domination by a few.
Which leads back to our Pledge of Allegiance...our pledge whose origin was authored by a socialist. Did Mr. Bellamy envision his pledge to inspire anger, controversy, inequality and inequality? Certainly not. Did he view liberty as something one is given and not earned? Not likely. Is justice for all meant to be the unification of hard working people? Yes. Do we gather national strength, pride, patriotism and a brighter future by being indivisible? Yes. Strength coming in unified numbers working together towards a common good.
This is the belief Mr Francis Bellamy and our founding fathers share together. Let's respect, embrace, appreciate and put to use these time honored words the make up our Pledge of Allegiance.
Catherine Cole Ferandelli is a resident of Winnemucca.