The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance or The Oath of Office

Would you believe me if I told you the Oath of Office came first and is more important than the Pledge of Allegiance?

No one should be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school, before a football game, or anywhere else. Instead, we should be reciting the Oath instead of the Pledge that says we must be loyal to a piece of rectangular cloth colored red, white, and blue that hangs from a pole.

The Oath of Office is the same oath every incoming president of the United States recites as they rest a hand on a Bible and are sworn in.

In fact, all officers of the seven uniformed services of the United States swear or affirm an oath of office upon commissioning. It differs slightly from that of the oath of enlistment that enlisted members recite when they enter the service. It is required by statute, the oath being prescribed by Section 3331, Title 5, United States Code. It is traditional for officers to recite the oath upon promotion but as long as the officer’s service is continuous this is not required.

The U.S. Constitution, Article VI, clause 3 says, “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The first Oath of Office was given to those serving in the Continental Army, beginning in 1775. A candidate had to not only name the 13 states, but also swear to keep them “free, independent and sovereign states and declare no allegiance to George the third, king of Great Britain” as well as “defend the United States against King George, his heirs and successors, and his and their abettors, assistants and adherents.”

Francis Bellamy, a Christian socialist minister, and author wrote the original version of the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance in 1892 — 117 years after George Washington recited the first Oath of Office to become the first president of the United States.

In its original form the Pledge of Allegiance said:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. At this time it read: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy’s daughter objected to this alteration.

I prefer the Oath of Office instead of the Pledge of Allegiance.  When I recite the Oath, I think of it as a patriot’s true oath.

The president’s oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

History says, “The founders decided to require an oath for federal and state officials—absent a religious test—in the Constitution, but the specifics—such as the wording of the oath—were left to the First Congress (1789–1791). In its first act, Congress specified the wording: “I, A.B. do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.” This oath was used for all federal officials except the President, whose oath was prescribed specifically in the Constitution (Article II, section 1, clause 8). …

“The oath used today has not changed since 1966 and is prescribed in Title 5, Section 3331 of the United States Code. It reads: “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

The Patriot’s Oath should read: I, ­­­[first and last name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”

Not once does the Oath or the Pledge say we must be loyal to the President of the United States, and I know without a doubt that I will not be loyal to President Donald Trump under any circumstances, because I think Trump is a domestic enemy of the U.S. Constitution.


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran, retired public school teacher, journalist, and award winning author.

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18 thoughts on “The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance or The Oath of Office

  1. I agree 100%. I too took an oath to defend the Constitution. The original pledge was ok, not what exists today.

    My closest friend, brother in all but name, killed by Agent Orange, had this to say and I use it in my email signature: “I have taken an oath “to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic”. What do I do when my government becomes the greatest enemy of the Constitution?” John Kniffin USMC Sgt Vietnam 2 tours Purple Heart Bronze Star


    Like my Marine brother, I swore an oath to defend the Constitution, not some idiot fascist traitor.

    • The enlisted oath says to obey the president and our officers but the officers’ oath doesn’t say they have to obey the president.

      When Trump’s Civil War explodes as he has predicted if he is impeached or headed to prison, I wonder if this will confuse the troops when most of the officers refuse to support and obey the president. It won’t confuse me. To me “Semper Fi” means always faithful to the U.S. Constitution and never some idiot fascist traitor like Donald Trump.

  2. “Til death do you part”? Same thing.Swear your oaths, pledges, promises or vows. They mean nothing. Actions speak louder than words.

    • Correct – actions do speak louder than words. That is why it is important to have “words” to compare those actions too.

      Donald Trump took the Oath of Office when he was sworn into office as the first illegitimate (my thinking) president of the United States, and his actions since then are evidence that he lied and is a traitor to the oath he took. Without the Oath, there is no way to decide if he is an honest patriot or a lying traitor.

      There is an old saying, “The Pen is Mightier than the sword.” That’s why we use the pen to write Oaths like the Oath to defend the U.S. Constitution that was written to guide the United States so it would not become what it is becoming today, an autocratic kleptocracy ruled by a few wealthy, powerful oligarchs, because of people like Bill Gates, the Koch brothers, the Walmart Walton family, too many elected representatives that also think a written oath to protect the values written in the U.S. Constitution is not important.

      The words written in the US Constitution count. The Oath to defend that Constitution from both domestic and foreign enemies count. If we are unwilling to fight to defend them against fascists and/or tyrants, then we are no better than the Nazis and every other hate-filled mob that has ever run wild and murder innocent people in their madness.

    • Well that’s a pleasant response, human being inverted logic!
      Too bad there’s nothing written in the Constitution that speaks of education.
      Where did you get your education that led you to your thoughts?
      Are you out to get somebody?
      I don’t get you.
      We here know to look and think critically.
      We certainly know that laws, oaths, pledges, allegiances, vows, beliefs, dogmas, doctrines, ARE BROKEN or not followed.
      Shame on us.
      You don’t inspire me at all.

      • What’s interesting is a comment that doesn’t have a comment but only has a link to an Opinion Piece.

        For the most part, we can trust the traditional media when it reports the news but always distrust any opinion/editorial pieces and fact checking everything … but that can take hours. Who has that many free hours these days?

        That also means fact-checking any of the sites that were used during fact-checking to make sure they aren’t lying and to discover how biased they are.

        There isn’t anything in the Constitution about education … BUT … a few of the founding fathers had opinions about education and they wrote about it.

        “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, (A)nd if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

        Thomas Jefferson

        Founding Fathers agreed: Funding public education is not a debate

        Rather than squabbling, Adams and Jefferson knew that public education was at the heart of democracy. “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it,” wrote Adams. “There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

  3. What’s interesting is that you posted the “…comment that doesn’t have a comment but only has a link to an Opinion Post.” I don’t think you have ever done that before. Of course I looked at the link and commented about that. Then I get an e-mail notification that invertedlogic “liked” my comment and suggests I should read the blog. Which I already did. Enough of that.

    I agree with what you say, Lloyd.

    Were there 7 or 8 Founding Fathers? I’m not posting the links. I can’t read your stl link because I don’t want to pay for it nor pirate it. So much for open source. Sad for Aaron Schwartz. He saw it coming.

    Anyway, all comments are opinions, even if they have links to prove their comments. Pluto is no longer a planet (look up the link). Sunscreen is bad for you, or flossing, or coffee (look up the links).

    Change is inevitable, and the peach was once a bitter almond (look up the links).

    But we all know how very vital is EDUCATION. Who would dispute or debate that fact?
    In a capitalistic nation that has its very roots in war, it’s about who pays for it.
    Follow the money trail.

    • Historian Richard B. Morris in 1973 identified the following seven figures as the key Founding Fathers: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. – found that on Wiki

      In a capitalistic nation that has a war industry (the biggest in the world), a porno industry (the biggest in the world), a weapons industry (the biggest in the world – even sometimes sells weapons to America’s enemies), et al — it’s about who profits the most. The working people who are also mostly the consumer middle are the ones who always pay the price that someone else profits from … even if those working class people don’t approve of the wars, and never watch the porn.

      Then there are the endless wars. It is usually the working class that never profits from those wars that end up fighting them and sometimes even if they don’t want to go fight, the profiteers enact the draft and force them. The wealthy, well, Trump also known as Cadet Bone Spur showed us how he used his father’s wealth to get out of being drafted, but now it looks like Cadet Bone Spurs may be planning to start wars all over the world: Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela and maybe he’ll even find a way to start a war with England, France, Italy, and Germany.

      • Yes, you are so correct, Lloyd. Here’s another:
        America was built on War and killing; to take, not to give. But “they” say we are the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave. Free to kill (because we can afford weapons), and Brave (because we are willing or forced to kill). Now that doesn’t sound “right” or “moral” to me. Which is why I do not consider myself to be “patriotic”, nor am I proud to be an American. At this moment in time, anyone could call me an “anarchist”.

        As we continue (with “Cadet Bone Spur” as our “leader”, Commander in Chief, aka President), we will continue to be forced (through taxes and propaganda) to be complicit with this doctrine built by however many “Founding Fathers” put it in place.

        Otherwise, we can “defect” – renounce our citizenship, and never be allowed to return to the great and powerful USA that keeps us free (?) and gives ALL opportunity (?).

        As a former teacher in the public schools, I chose 2 years ago to “retire” (without a pension – the district finagled that). Many would say I “quit” because I was not willing to fight while watching students be indoctrinated with inaccuracies of who they are, and what they could be on this planet. I believe it is wrong (or immoral) to teach children lies.

        When the recruiters came to the middle schools, I could not sit in the auditoriums in agreement with what the people in uniforms were guaranteeing our youth for their futures.

        It may work for some. I don’t believe it is the way for me.

      • I taught in public schools with high child poverty rates of 70-percent or more, and my only military advice to my students was if you want to go to college and can’t afford it, join the Air Force or Navy and while you are on active duty you can take long-distance classes from accredited public colleges and as long as you are on active duty the military will pay your tuition and refund the cost of your books. I told them to avoid the Marines and Army because you can’t earn a college education or take advantage of one if you are dead or end up severely damages physically or mentally. I told them all about what it was like to live with PTSD caused by combat.

        I know of one girl student who did it. She joined the Air Force after graduating from high school and five years later showed up at lunch one day to visit me in my classroom. She was in uniform. She told me she had earned her BA from a four-year state college and was going to finish up a masters in something technical like electronics or programming. She carried her laptop with her all over the world and kept taking long-distance classes from a state university in California. She was trained in technical skills in the Air Force and even served on a Patriot Battery in Israel during the first Gulf War. Never saw combat.

      • Yesterday, I didn’t think to mention that the British Empire (Heck, all the European colonial empires: Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and I think Denmark too) were built on war, slavery and killing just like the United States has done since it was born as a nation.

  4. Like I said, it may work for some, but it wouldn’t work for me. It’s working for the military industrial complex. Even if it’s a subcontract. Even if you are lucky enough to never see combat. The trade off is hypocritical if you oppose War. It seems legitimate and is certainly honored by many.

    Your experience has taught you much. And it DID give you a college education and PTSD (compensation approved). Was it worth it?
    Too late on that question. It’s done. You were young. You actually got more than you signed up for in the Marines. You got your life up until this moment.

    And I would say, “Well done. You have survived and prospered.”

    I learn so much from you, Lloyd. Gratitude flows to CA!

    • My stepdaughter who now calls me grandpa Lloydie had her first child late last year. I know he is too young to understand yet but I’m already telling him to never go into the military and instead follow in his parents’ footsteps and go straight to college out of high school.

      The first time I told this baby that, his parents were in another room but they heard me and I heard them laughing. I think they must have thought I’d be the last one to be anti-military and/or anti-war.

      If a future president, hopefully not the horrible MAGA Man, starts the next world war, I’ll help him fail his physical if he is drafted.

    • But you know Lloyd, that just because everyone else jumps off the bridge, doesn’t mean YOU have to!

      • I’m too old now to jump off those metaphorical bridges, and when I joined the Marines right before I graduated from high school back in 1965, the U.S. wasn’t at war and I had no idea what was happening in Vietnam with the Green Beret as advisors and trainers. Back then, the only thing I looked at in the newspaper was the comics, and the only books I read were science fiction and fantasy that I checked out of the local library.

        And the reason I joined had nothing to do with wanting to fight. My parents gave me an ultimatum: go to college or pay rent if you still want to live here. At the time, I didn’t want to go college and what I was earning washing dishes in a coffee shop wasn’t enough to pay rent so I went through door #3 that my parents didn’t even know about, and joined the Marines because my best friend had already done it. I wasn’t going to tell them. My plan was to leave a note and get on the bus to boot camp, but the recruiter called my parent’s house while I was at work washing dishes to ask them to remind me to show up on time.

        When I got home at about midnight, my parents were waiting for me, and they were not happy but also not angry. Shocked and sad was more like it.

        When LBJ used the fake Tonkin Gulf Incident to escalate the conflict in Vietnam to a full-scale war, I was already halfway through boot camp. Surviving boot camp and ending up fighting in war changed my life drastically from what it probably would have been. Like Sherman, I think war is hell and should be avoided at all costs. Let the diplomats negotiate first to avoid wars.

  5. And that stepdaughter would be Lauryann!

    So much I have learned and continue to learn from you since I first found you on… who knows… it was a long time ago. Or at least it seems like it. Since then I have voraciously absorbed all available that I know of online, and read your books. Yes! That’s where it was! From Diane Ravitch’s blog! 8 years ago!

    It is good – that you are a Veteran against War, and would not advise your tiny step-grandson to enter into that place that you have known.You have a rightful stance within that mindset. I don’t understand why the parents of this child would laugh at hearing you whisper truths to their beloved little child.

    I don’t understand why Anchee would not want to grow with you into old age.
    When paths differ, I guess they go their own ways. I have a feeling they will still be with you for a long while. You were with them for a long while.

    You have survived and continue to do so despite horrors and losses – and you have lived to write about it. So many listen to you. When you were 19, did you ever think you would end up a prolific writer?

    When you were a little boy, did you ever think you would live until what, 72 (?) and be who you are now?

    And how’s that house coming along?

    • I think they laughed because of the conversation between me at 73 going on 74 in a few months and an infant a few weeks old.

      The renovations are going slow.

      Relationships are complicated. Anchee and I are still friends.

      I never thought about the future when I was a little boy. I lived in the moment a day at a time.

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