Tuesday, June 16, 2020

One Nation, Under God

By Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

Did you know that on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, President Eisenhower added “under God” to our Pledge of Allegiance? 

Flag Day is commemorated on June 14 in memory of the day in 1777 when the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of The United States.

President Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day as an annual national celebration in his proclamation issued on May 30, 1916.

Our Pledge of Allegiance was inspired in 1891 by Francis Bellamy, the son of a Baptist minister and a former preacher.

Bellamy aspired to create a patriotic program for school children for the dedication of the Columbia Exposition in October 1892, the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World. He felt compelled to incorporate an allegiance for the youngsters in his charge, especially living in the shadows of the Civil War. According to the Gettysburgflag.com, Pledge of Allegiance, Bellamy's original pledge read: 

"I Pledge Allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Then along came Hitler and Mussolini who decided to stomp the nations of the world to their will and their allegiance. After winning that brutal world war, in stepped Rev. George Docherty.

The Reverend Docherty was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1911. He came to the United States in 1950 to become pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, located in downtown Washington D.C.   

One day, Rev. Docherty heard his young son recite the American Pledge of Allegiance. He felt this needed God in it.

Docherty’s sermons began to ring with this characteristic. In Scotland, “God save our gracious queen,” is a standard saying, and he’d mention the need to insert “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance.

There is no doubt Docherty felt led by God to promote his mission to grace America’s Pledge of Allegiance with “under God.” He acquired his chance to add fuel to his flaming desire when in February 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower attended Docherty’s service in honor of Lincoln’s birthday.

After the horrific years of World War II and facing the ever-looming threat of Communism, American hearts burned with gratitude to God and their Lord who had heard their prayers and brought their sons, daughters, husbands, and brothers’ home. Four-star General Dwight D. Eisenhower knew that all too well. Now as president, he worried about the communist threat to America’s peace looming on the horizon.

Rev. Docherty didn’t appear to be worried in the least. From his high pulpit in that high peaked-shaped centennial church where once the famous Scottish Preacher Peter Marshall once spoke, Docherty declared, “To omit the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance is to omit the definitive factor in the American way of life.”

No waste of words for him. “An atheistic American is a contradiction in terms,” Docherty continued. “If you deny the Christian ethic, you fall short of the American ideal of life.”

The parishioners voiced their favor through calls and letters. The Knights of Columbus and veteran organizations wholeheartedly agreed.

A bill was proposed in Congress to add the phrase, ‘under God’ and Eisenhower signed the act into law on our beloved Flag Day — June 14, 1954.

"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."
Reverend Docherty’s statement above about omitting “under God” from the pledge is to “omit the definitive factor in the American way of life” brings a lump to my throat and concern to my heart. If Docherty came to America’s shores in 2020, would he say this of us today?

From the first landing of Christopher Columbus to America’s shores, to the Delegates of the First Continental Congress praying for guidance and establishing our Flag in 1777. From the Tipperary’s of World War I to the Caissons of World War II, Americans have always stepped up to the plate to do their part to make America’s history sing out strongly of our allegiance to the God who never failed us. Pray Americans continue to remain faithful to the God who made this nation great.

Destiny’s Whirlwind, Book 2 of the Destiny Series: A death-bed promise, a dashing Rough Rider, the parable of the sower take on unimaginable consequences as Ben’s daughter, Collina, fights to keep her father’s legacy of Shushan alive. "Destiny’s Whirlwind by Catherine Brakefield is a beautiful inspirational love story that will reel you in and win your heart…The story is beautifully written and filled with triumph and heartbreak. I couldn’t put it down…”      VV Amazon 

Her short stories have been published in Guidepost Books, Baker Books, Revell, CrossRiver Media, and Bethany House Publishers.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), President of the Great Lakes Chapter (ACFW GLC). Catherine lives with her husband of 45 years, has two adult children, and four grandchildren.
See https://www.CatherineUlrichBrakefield.com for more information about her books.


  1. Thanks for the post! A very timely topic for the days we are facing, for sure.

    1. Thank you Connie R., I am often amazed by the courage of our Christian ancestors and pray Christians of today will show the same fortitude.

  2. Very interesting. I didn't know anything about flag day nor realize "under God" was added later through legislation. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you for this information. Too often, we neglect to learn the history of the flag.

    1. Melissa Henderson, I try to write in my novels little-known facts regarding the wonderful heritage our ancestors have left us!

  4. Even though I remember President Eisenhower adding those words when I was 17, it seems that is always the way I remember it. Our flag is so important and has brought us through so much turmoil. My prayer is for us to return to the dream of our forefathers and and restore our nation to that "one nation under God" country we have been in the past. Thank you for the reminder.

  5. Martha W. Rogers I will join with you praying that our nation exemplifies Christian values and remembers 1 Chronicles 7:14 which is so vitally important for our nation today!