Sunday, June 14, 2009

I Pledge Allegiance

Section S1.01 of the Standing Resolutions of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota provides

The Grand Lodge hereby adopts the United States Flag as its banner, to be displayed at its communications and carried upon all ceremonial occasions, except funerals; and it recommends the ownership and display of such flag by each Lodge and that the same be carried by it on like ceremonial occasions. (Adopted in 1915).

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that Most Worshipful Brother and President Harry S Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, there was a shortage of American flags for sale. This included flag lapel pins, flag decals and the flags that folks were flying from the rear windows of their cars. Congress and state legislatures debated making reciting the Pledge of Allegiance mandatory in schools across the land.

Within a couple of weeks, I realized that there was something I could do that that wouldn’t take an act of Congress or a statute by the legislature. I could start each day of court by inviting everyone in the courtroom to remain standing, and join with me in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to our nation’s flag. Every day since, at the start of the Court day (and, sometimes, at the start of the afternoon session as well), we have recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

There is no rule of Court, as there is in a Masonic Lodge, that the Pledge ought to be recited at the beginning of the session. It was just the right thing to do.

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To see the Pledge of Allegiance in sign language, see

To read Brother Red Skelton’s story of his teacher’s interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance, see