I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Well, it turns out at that the pledge was written by a Christian socialist named Francis Bellamy as part of a Columbus Day celebration in 1892. The salute was called the Bellamy salute after—you guessed it—Mr. Bellamy. The salute was too similar to one later used by a certain goose-stepping gentleman of the Family Schicklgruber, so in 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed the hand over heart gesture that we see today.
These facts—and much more— can be found in a fascinating new book, The Pledge: A History of the Pledge of Allegiance by Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer, which the New York Times Book Review saluted on Sunday.