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Francis Julius Bellamy Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Francis Julius Bellamy passes away in 1931.

Francis Julius Bellamy was an American minister who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.

Bellamy was born in Mount Morris, New York on May 18th, 1855. His family was deeply involved with the Baptist church in New York. At the age of 5 Bellamy moved with his family to Rome, New York. He attended college in Rochester, New York at the University of Rochester. As a young man Bellamy became a minister and was strongly influenced by the Second Great Awakening.

By 1891, Bellamy had become involved with the "Youth Companion" a periodical of the day which was patriotic in nature. He was hired to work with the nephew of the owner, James B. Upham. Bellamy and Upham began working on a campaign to sell American Flags to schools. The campaign had actually begun in 1888, by 1892 26,000 schools had bought flags from "Youth Companion".

In 1892, the market was not quite saturated, it was getting close though. Upham had the idea to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus reaching the Americas. The magazine called the day a national Columbian Public School Celebration, the celebration included a salute to the flag. In September of 1892 the pledge was officially published by the magazine. The official version read:

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

In October of 1892, the word 'to' was added so the pledge read in part "and to the Republic".

At the celebration the pledge was to be accompanied by what was called the Bellamy Salute to the Flag. The salute was given by elevating the arm toward the flag similar to a Roman salute. Unfortunately in the 1920's and 1930's Italian fascists and the Nazis adopted the salute as well. The Bellamy salute was replaced officially in 1942 when congress changed the flag code to the hand over the heart salute.

It was in 1954, in response to the perceived threat of Communism, Congress added the "under God" portion of the salute we use today.

Bellamy passed away on August 28, 1931.

Bellamy was a member of Little Falls Lodge No. 181, in Little Falls, New York.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.