The pledge of allegiance to the American flag is neither an old verse nor one composed by the Republic’s founding fathers. It was written especially for children in the summer of 1892 to commemorate that year’s celebration of Columbus Day in public schools throughout the country.

The pledge’s first appearance in print was on September 8, 1892, in The Youth’s Companion, an education publication.

It is estimated that more than ten million American school children recited it that Columbus Day. The author was the editor, Francis Bellamy of Rome, New York.

Bellamy intended his verse to be a one-time recitation.

But its immediate popularity among the nation’s school kids and teachers transformed it first into an annual Columbus Day tradition, then into a daily classroom ritual. It became one of the earliest verses memorized by students.

Reference: Panati, Charles. 1987. Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things.