Greetings, Friends of Knappton Cove. We’re observing Constitution & Citizenship Day this year, Saturday, September 17 with an Open House from 1-4 pm. Join us as we reflect on the remarkable rights and responsibilities we have as Americans.
Our Celebration of Citizenship Day at the Knappton Cove Heritage Center reminds us that there are two declarations of allegiance that individuals may be called upon to make. First, there is the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America, which is required of all those who wish to become American citizens. And second, there is the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, which all Americans may be asked to recite as an affirmation of the values represented by our nation's flag. Each declaration has its own origin story and history.
The Oath of Allegiance originated in 1790 when immigrants were required to take an oath to supportthe new U.S. Constitution, and in 1795 the Naturalization Act required those hoping to become citizens to commit to those intentions before they filed their Petition for Naturalization. Not a lot changed after that until 1906 when a Presidential Commission noted the lack of uniformity among the nearly 5000 courts that dealt with naturalization. The Basic Naturalization Act of 1906 led to a revised oath which then evolved over the following decades. The version of the oath that is used today reflects the most recent changes, which were made in 1952:
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
The origins of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag are much more recent than the Oath of Allegiance, having been written in 1892 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the 1492 discoveries made by Columbus. It isn’t clear which of two men was the author of the pledge, Francis Bellamy or James Upham, both of whom worked for a publishing company. The phrase “one nation indivisible” was an affirmation of the outcome of the Civil War, and “liberty and justice for all” was a reflection of the Declaration of Independence. In 1923 the phrase “the flag of the United States” was specified to make clear to which flag allegiance was being pledged and, on Flag Day in 1954, Congress made a change to say “one Nation under God, … .” The original salute that was to be given while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was found later to be very similar in appearance to that used by Hitler and the Nazi military so in 1942 it was changed by Congress to one in which the right hand is to be placed on the left chest over the heart. Those in military uniform, however, are to maintain a standard military salute while remaining silent as the pledge is recited. Any further changes to the pledge now require the president’s consent. The following is the current version of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag:
“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.”
1 Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America | USCIS https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/the-naturalization-interview-and-test/naturalization-oath-of-allegiance-to-the-united-states-of-america
2 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/pledge.pdf
~Thanks to Board Member Jay Paulsen for preparing this article.
Save the Date!
‘Horriable Day’ Open House
Visit the Cove in the season that the Lewis & Clark Expedition camped nearby and remarked on the weather!
Thursday, November 10, 10 am-2 pm
Hot Cider & History
Hope to see you at Knappton Cove before Season's End!
Email us for Museum Appointments Outside of Regular Open Hours
Following local COVID guidelines ~ Check website for details