Niagara Gazette — As we approach Veterans Day, ironically only a few days after yesterday’s election, this might be a good time to stop and think for a moment about some of the principles that our military veterans fought, and many died for, based in part upon the concepts of allegiance and loyalty, and how those very same ideals also apply in peacetime at home, even at the local level where disputes and disagreements are settled through elections instead of wars.
Pledging our allegiance every school day morning as young students, we repeat those 31 rote memorized words which had been carefully crafted in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931) who hailed from tiny Mount Morris, a scant 60 miles east of Niagara Falls.
“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.”
Most of us, not really knowing or caring what they meant, what they stand for, and as kids, barely able to pronounce them let alone comprehend their deeper meanings, probably thought that with those words, we were honoring the flag, not the ideals that it stands for; that part of our education would come later for most, never for some.
But for everyone who enters the military knows, that word allegiance comes up again in the Oath of Enlistment; it is something that every service member must promise and adhere to for his/her entire military career, to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”; and to, “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”
The idea of honoring our military veterans with a special day evolved beginning with the end of World War I, known at the time as “The Great War” which officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France.