Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance

This is for you Mary. John Presta.

Red Skelton’s presentation of the Pledge of Allegiance recently on “The Red Skelton Hour” on the CBS Television Network produced thousands of letters and phone calls during the week following its broadcast. The public’s reaction was unanimous in congratulating the comedian for one of the season’s most memorable moments.

A transcript of Skelton’s recital follows:

Getting back to schools, I remember a teacher I had. I only went through the 7th grade in school. I left home at ten years old because I was hungry. I’d work in the summer and go to school in the winter. 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…Mr. Lasswell. He said: (Red Becomes the Old Man) “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:

I – me, an individual, a committee of one.
PLEDGE – dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
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.
OF THE UNITED – that means that we have all come together.
STATES OF AMERICA – individual communities that have united into 48 great states, 48 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.
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.
UNDER GOD – meaning, so blessed by God.
INDIVISIBLE – incapable of being divided.
WITH LIBERTY – which is freedom and the right of power to live one’s own life without threats, or fear or some sort of retaliation.
AND JUSTICE – 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 some one said, “That’s a prayer” and that would be eliminated from schools, too?


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