3. The Pledge of Allegiance has long been recited in Congress and other governmental bodies.
The pledge was written by magazine editor Francis Bellamy in 1892 for a nationwide public school celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s landing. In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, New York became the first state to mandate that public school students recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of each school day. Many states followed suit, and the pledge remained a staple of the daily routine in many schools until 1988, when it became an issue in the presidential campaign.
Vice President George H.W. Bush criticized his opponent, Democrat Michael Dukakis, for vetoing a bill as governor of Massachusetts that would have required the pledge to be recited in public schools. Dukakis said he did so after being advised that the law was unconstitutional.
At the height of the campaign, on Sept. 13, 1988, the pledge was recited on the floor of the House of Representatives for the first time. Republican members of the House, who were in the minority, offered a resolution to that effect, and it was accepted by Speaker Jim Wright, a Democrat. Wright ruled that from then on, the pledge would be recited at the start of business each day that the House was in session.
The Senate did not begin daily recital of the pledge until June 24, 1999. Since then, the pledge has become part of the opening rituals of nearly all state and local governmental bodies.
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