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Letter to the editor

July 10, 2002

The meaning behind the pledge



To the editor:

Most of the history published in The Morning Herald, June 27, concerning the Pledge of Allegiance is correct, although not the full truth.

I learned the pledge in the early 1920s as it was originally written, with the hand initially over one's heart and then extended toward the American flag as a gesture that the American flag was "my flag." Author John Baer, at age 71, is too young to have personally experienced the pride instilled by the original manner of reciting the pledge. Obviously, he was impressed and misled at a later time by the hatred of the Nazi salute, not having had the inspiration of the true pledge!

As an immigrant's child, I was very proud to pledge homage to my flag, which stood on the staff at the head of my one-room school class. Unfortunately, the American Legion and DAR (the ones who wouldn't let Marion Anderson sing in Constitution Hall because she was black) took my flag away from me, assigning it as property of the government, much in the manner of the swastika honored by the Nazi.

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This change was motivated by the "red scare" of the early 1920s associated with a biased belief that labor demands for better working conditions were associated with "terrorism" fomented by "anarchists" seeking to destroy capitalism. During this "labor unrest" the National Guard was called to defend the rights of industry to profit through enslavement of the working class to work long hours under unsafe conditions.

The arm extended toward the flag, to gesture that the American Flag was the flag one pledged allegiance to, was in the manner eliminated in 1942 due to a false belief that it "copy-catted" the Nazi salute!

Under Eisenhower's efforts in 1954, in opposition to Senator McCarthy's communist scare, the words "under God" were inserted because the communists were thought to be eliminated because they "didn't believe in God." Likewise, the words "In God We Trust" were inserted upon all currency in 1955, under Eisenhower. It was made the motto of the USA in 1956, taken from the battle song adopted in 1931 as our National Anthem to foster our citizens' spirits during the "Great Depression." As school pupils, we were involved in a survey to determine what song should be adopted for our anthem. I voted for America the Beautiful, to disfavor the choice of a battle song. But the "war monger" religious "crusaders" won!

Most people today are too young to have seriously sought the truth; it is simpler to defer to God rather than seeking to understand the rights of all as being defended by our Constitution! Personally, I refuse to knuckle down to obey unfounded beliefs of "flag wavers" who "follow the crowd."

Jorma R. Keto

Greencastle, Pa.




Track support is unforgivable



To the editor:

Of all the good Del. Cas Taylor has claimed he has done, just one race track defeats it all. This is a good time for Taylor to change jobs and manage a race track instead of the House of Delegates.

It would be closer to home and save him all the travel.

I think LeRoy Myers can win, and if not, show Taylor everyone does not approve of his ways.

Smart growth, new sidewalks, no more people using them. Not too smart.

We have Rails to Trails and the C&O Canal towpath. It is pretty confusing which one to use. Come on LeRoy, I have faith you can win. Miracles still happen. You should know that many have been performed in your life. We don't have the race track yet. Taylor could be out of a job altogether, we hope. Don't forget the gun laws.

George E. Lashley

Hancock




Column sparked reading club interest



To the editor:

I'm writing to thank Bob Maginnis for his recent column about reading: "Old pastime reborn in reading clubs." He quoted our children's librarian, Jeff Ridgeway, about the events for the summer reading club kickoff. The kickoff was a huge success.

There were more than 200 children here that Wednesday. Everyone enjoyed the race car, hook-and-ladder and the model train set up. We gave away snow cones and game prizes and painted a whole lot of kids' faces.

We feel a large part of the success of the event was due in no small part to the column. It gave such great press to the Board of Education and the library and in particular, to the summer reading club. More than 100 children signed up for the reading club on that day.

Thanks for The Herald-Mail's interest in and promotion of literacy and reading in our community.

Kathleen O'Connell

Assistant Director

Washington County Free Library

Hagerstown

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