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House To Discuss Pledge Of Allegiance Bill

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RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina already has a law that encourages local districts to provide students the opportunity of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance on a regular basis. The bill heading for House approval requires that opportunity become a daily ritual.

The North Carolina Pledge of Allegiance bill also requires the display of the U.S. and state flag in each classroom. In addition, schools would teach the meaning and historical origins of the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Last year, the Senate unanimously passed the bill on the last day of the session. On Wednesday, the full House is expected to review the bill.

If members do not vote on it by the end of the short session, then the measure is dead until 2008.

Despite all the requirements regarding the flag and the pledge, the bill does make it clear that schools should not force anyone to salute the flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance. The House hopes to get through a second and third reading of the bill on Wednesday.

The Pledge of Allegiance was initially known as the Pledge to the Flag. It started in 1892 in anticipation of a Columbus Day celebration.

Fifty years later in 1942, Congress officially sanctioned the pledge. A year later, the Supreme Court ruled children should not be forced the recite the pledge. In 1954, the pledge underwent its final change, when the phrase "Under God" was added.