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"Old Glory," K. R. Thompson, 1968

The U.S. Flag Code states that citizens should pledge allegiance with the right hand over the heart or with a military salute while facing the flag. The House of Representatives has opened each day’s session with the Pledge of Allegiance since 1988, and the Senate has done so since 1999.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

"Old Glory," K. R. Thompson, 1968

Pledging Allegiance

Citizens of the United States, diverse in their backgrounds and beliefs, are united by adherence to principles of liberty and justice symbolized by the American flag. A pledge written for an 1892 Columbus Day celebration became the official affirmation of national loyalty in 1942 when Congress included it in flag legislation. In 1943 the Supreme Court upheld a citizen’s right to follow individual conscience and beliefs in choosing whether or not to recite this pledge.