Letter to the editor
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 3:58 AM
How many times have you said or heard the Pledge of Allegiance? I remember being in grade school, in Fillmore, in a one-room (actually two rooms, one wasn't used for school, only for social gatherings) school. After the bell rang and all students were seated in time, according to Mrs. Jeske's stopwatch, we had to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I am not sure, but I think this continued until the sixth grade in Spring Valley.
Recently we had one of the leaders of Boys State, an American Legion program, talk at our post. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance, pretty much in unison. He then told us that there is no comma between nation and under in the pledge. I looked it up in wikipedia.org. The following is from Wikipedia:
"According to the United States Flag Code, the Pledge of Allegiance reads:
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."
I think there should be a comma after nation. The comma gives the statement some umph instead of just being a ho-hum, dry mouth statement. It is stressed and emphasized who is over our nation. To me that should be read and recited as: ...one nation (pause and inhale) under God (pause and inhale).... The way it is written, it could read, "under water" or "under Europe", etc. Our nation is under God and should be so emphasized.
The use of the comma is important. I remember this from one of my English classes (paraphrased slightly). "In Wykoff, Minnesota, a man was caught and accused of being a horse thief. The town decided to hang him the next day. This man had heard of a lawyer in Spring Valley who specialized in horse thief trials. He sent a telegraph to the lawyer in Spring Valley explaining his dilemma. The lawyer, always looking for work, received the message and wired back, 'Hang him not, coming.' The telegrapher in Spring Valley wasn't all that great in the English language, especially punctuation. He knew there was a comma in the sentence, but couldn't remember where. And, commas weren't that important, so he sent a message to Wykoff reading, 'Hang him, not coming.'"
I would like to know what the readers think of my use of the comma in the Pledge of Allegiance. My email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.