Harriet Lynne Agin-Stuhltrager, who grew up on "little Cooper Street" in East Camden and who attended and St. Joseph's Catholic School at 29th and Westfield Avenue wrote this poem, inspired by the way the Pledge of Allegiance was conducted in the 1930s.

My Flag
Harriet-Lynne Agin-Stuhltrager

The school day started with a ring
When Sister tapped the bell,
One could hear the silence
As several snickers fell.

Attention!  Then we said our prayers,
This I most recall,
Repetition taught us...
About-face to the wall.

High above the blackboard
I raised my eyes to see,
Not fifty stars but forty-eight
Looking back at me.

A "little tyke" perhaps I was
Four feet tall back then,
My young heart seemed to skip a beat
Whenever these words were said....

"I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag",
Right arm ascends in place.
Extended now with upward palm,
Our allegiance blessed with grace.

Our salute contained such ardent pride,
I yearn for that again.
The words not fully understood,
Today I comprehend.

I loved this daily part of school,
I shall forget it never....
Several wars our flag has known,
Still beautiful as ever.

Time, for sure, has strengthened
What Old Glory means to me....
For woven in her fabric
Is, the lives that keep us free.

In 1954 "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the 1930's children were not putting their hands over their hearts when reciting the pledge.  What they did was stretch their arms straight out and up toward the flag, with the palm facing upwards.  This, as you might imagine, got to be a little awkward when Hitler's Nazi salute started chilling souls around the world.  That's when hands started being placed over the hearts. - Jim Six,  Gloucester County (NJ) Times, June 27, 2002.

St. Joseph's Catholic School - Class of 1943
Harriet Lynne Agin-Stuhltrager, 3rd Row. 2nd from Left
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