It is 1963.The Supreme Court of the United States has removed prayer from public school.Now, it is January 14, 1969.America is in the midst of the hotly contested Vietnam War.Daily, images are shown on televisions and in papers of war protesters burning, trampling, and disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.
Richard Bernard Skelton, better known simply as Red Skelton, was a well-known comedian, hosting his own comedic television and radio shows for 30 years.For Red, January 14 was show-day.In a change from his normal comedic acts, Red took a five minute break from comedy to address a more serious issue.Red reflected back to his childhood, while he was still in school, and shared the following story:
"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. He said; '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 my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
ALLEGIANCE: my love and 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: 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.
OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC: a state in which sovereign power is vested 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: 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 it's as much your country as it is mine.
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 for schools, too?'
June 14 is annually celebrated in the United States of America as Flag Day.It is a day that we remember and commemorate that adoption of the flag of the United States, which occurred on June 14, 1777, just under a year after declaring Independence from England. The flag represents our country.It serves as a reminder of all who have died so that we may live freely.
Happy Flag Day!
 This was first broadcast on:
From The Red Skelton Hour, CBS TV, January 14, 1969.
COPYRIGHT 1969 RICHARD RED SKELTON