I fear that some folks did not fully understand or appreciate Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance when recited at the State Capitol on Saturday morning. I realize it might have been difficult to hear, but now that the heat of the moment has passed, please allow me to expand on this man's contribution. He truly was a genius, a hero, and a prophet.
Red Skelton was born in 1913. At the time he was in 7th grade, it was about 1925. The Pledge had been written only a few decades before (1890's) and was still relatively new for schoolchildren at that time.
You should know that Red's account of his teacher explaining the meaning of the Pledge was from 1925!
The words, "Under God" were not added until 1954.
Red's words following his teacher's explanation, as he recounted this incident on his CBS Television program on January 14th, 1969, were as follows;
RED SKELTON: "Since I was a small boy, two States have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance; Under God."
Now this is critical; his final words are in the form of a rhetorical question. Please keep in mind that in 1964, the Supreme Court ruled that prayer in school was unconstitutional. Red feared that the same thing might happen to The Pledge because it contained the words, "under God."
RED SKELTON: "Wouldn't it be a pity if someone were to say that is a prayer, and THAT would be eliminated from schools, too?"
Two weeks after his dissertation appeared on his television show (1969!) Columbia Records (a division of CBS Broadcasting) released the audio from the TV Show on a 45 RPM. It went Gold. I still have my copy. Burger King later released it on a paper and vinyl souvenir, given away when you purchased a hamburger. These are still quite available on eBay (search Red Skelton on eBay.)
In 2002, when the 9th Circuit Court ruled the Pledge was unconstitutional because of the words, "under God," Red's greatest fear was realized. Many of us, old enough to remember hearing him say this on national television in 1969, immediately recalled his wisdom, and his recitation was revived and played on radio stations all over the land. The audio is also all over the internet (Google it!) and even on some state government websites. The video is also now available, having been re-released by his estate (Red died in Sept of 1997) only a couple of years ago. It has been twice read into the Congressional Record.
I urge you to go to this link on YouTube and listen to Red tell this incredible story again. And erase all doubt that he was a patriot, and loved this country unashamedly. And in the end, he was more than just "one of America's clown," he was a true hero. Click on the link below -
Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance