“…and to the Republic for which it stands…”
by Marcia Drogheo
This phrase of The Pledge of Allegiance contains two parts: “and to the Republic” and “for which it stands” that need to be discussed, at least at first, separately.
And to the Republic
Meaning also loyalty to the government, our government, which is a republic where the PEOPLE are sovereign or according to Merriam-Webster, “possessing supreme power”, “independent”.
For which it stands
The flag represents and stands for our government.
Thoughts of an 11 year old
“The flag stands for us—our nation.” My daughter’s very simple explanation when I asked her what this phrase means. She gets it.
For fifteen years, first as a student and now a teacher, I have recited The Pledge of Allegiance countless times without thinking. There have been times where I stopped to talk about the overall meaning of “The Pledge” with my students and how it is a symbol of our great country and it is a way to honor it.
But now reflecting on this particular section brings to mind an image I’ve had since first learning The Pledge of Allegiance over thirty years ago. An innocent and literal interpretation; a memory really, of what I was thinking as I was standing, hand over heart, in my first grade classroom facing the flag. As I was saying “and to the Republic for which it stands” I would picture our flag standing high above the USA. Not figuratively standing for our government, but literally standing over our country as if protecting us. This brought me comfort and a sense of pride.
Although I know that this section of The Pledge means that the flag represents and stands as a symbol of OUR government that we show loyalty to, I will always have that image in my mind as I recite “The Pledge” 175 times per school year.
Marcia Drogheo is an elementary school teacher, wife, and mother of two very active girls in Denver, Colorado. She is kept very busy with her family, work, and volunteering in her community.