Every Fourth of July, we attend parades and barbecues and celebrate the virtues and sacrifices of our Founding Fathers. They risked their own happiness and liberty to help ensure ours. Though the Pledge of Allegiance isn’t nearly as old as our country—it was written in part by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and not officially adopted by the U.S. until 1942—it has come a symbol of patriotism and a stalwart reminder that the United States is a country worthy of our allegiance.

The Red Skelton Show

On January 14, 1969, Red Skelton offered his television audience his reminiscence of an incident from his schoolboy days in Indiana. Mr. Lasswell, Skelton’s teacher, felt his students had come to regard the Pledge of Allegiance as a daily drudgery to be recited by rote; they had lost any sense of the meaning of the words they were speaking. As Skelton related the story, Mr. Lasswell told his class: “I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it’s becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?”

Skelton then delivered to his audience a stirring version of the explanation provided to his school class by their teacher so many years earlier, as shown in the video above. Skelton’s explanation and rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance proved to be quite popular and widely acclaimed, and in response to public demand it was widely printed and sold as records and tapes as a reminder that freedom and liberty must be protected and cherished.

Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance:

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’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 48 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’s love for country.

AND TO THE 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.”

INDIVISIBLE: Incapable of being divided.

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 quality of dealing fairly with others.

FOR ALL: For all, which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine.

Happy Fourth of July

From all of us at Real World Survivor, including the editors, designers, advertising teams, and office staff of Survivor’s Edge, The New Pioneer, and American Frontiersman magazines, have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

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