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American Iconography or… IKE-onography! - April 3, 2015

Dwight David Eisenhower, President of the United States, brought to the presidency his prestige as commanding general of the victorious forces in Europe during World War II. Eisenhower obtained a truce in Korea and worked incessantly during his two terms to ease the tensions of the Cold War. (Date: Between 1953 and 1961) Photo Courtesy of Kansas Historical Society / kansasmemory.org)

Q: President Dwight Eisenhower, who grew up in Abilene, changed the nation in many significant ways. For example, he got NASA off the ground and the Interstate Highway System up and running. And on June 14, 1954, Eisenhower signed a bill into law that changed something else in America. What was it?


 

A: The Pledge of Allegiance / added words “under God” to the pledge

During the height of the Red Scare, a time when Americans were worried the country would be overrun by Godless communists, Congress passed legislation adding two words to the Pledge of Allegiance: ”under God.” President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954. Eisenhower then stated, "From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty... In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource, in peace or in war."

While the wording remains unchanged, there have been many legal challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance since the 1950s. While courts have ruled that no one is legally required to recite the pledge, millions of children do so every day. Others often recite the pledge at meetings, sporting events and other activities. So take that, commies!

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