My Grandfather mentioned this once, a long time ago, back in the 1970s. He knew it, as did most Americans throughout our nation’s greatest period of advancement.
It’s time we all refresh ourselves with both its content and its rich and detailed history. Non-copyright excerpts were obtained from The Story of the American’s Creed – The story and meaning behind the words (This Family Blog).
William Tyler Page’s entry:
I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers area derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it against all enemies.
William Tyler Page himself explained the meaning of each line:
I believe in the United States of America: These are the closing words of the Preamble of the Constitution.
As a Government of the People, by the People, for the People: Abraham Lincoln stated this in the Gettysburg Address
Whose Just Powers are derived from the Consent of the Governed: Dating back to Jamestown in 1607 and repeated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence
A Sovereign Nation of many Sovereign States: The powers of the State Governments are held to be sacred wherever they do not conflict with the good of all as represented in the Federal Government, whose power is granted in the Constitution from the people themselves.
A Perfect Union: From the Preamble to the Constitution encompassing a stronger union resulting from its adoption by all the States
One and Inseparable: From Daniel Webster’s speech in the US Senate, the Union is ‘one and inseparable’ because the people have determined that it is best for all the States to remain united and ‘governed by their own consent’ through their duly-elected representatives. The Supreme Court agreed that ‘The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States.’
Established upon whose principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes: From the Declaration of Independence. American Patriots, from the beginning until now, have offered their lives and fortunes on behalf of the principles to which this Nation has been dedicated.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it: Nathan Hale said “I only regret that I have but one life to give to my country.” John Hancock wrote “Patriotism is ever united with humanity and compassion. This noble affection which impels us to sacrifice everything dear, even life itself, to our country, involves in it a common sympathy and tenderness for every citizen, and must ever have a particular feeling for one who suffers in a public cause.”
To support its Constitution: From the Oath of Allegiance: ‘II do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion…”
To obey its laws: George Washington’s Farewell Address: ‘Respect for its authority, compliance with its Laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true Liberty. The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, ’til changed by an explicit and authentic actor of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the People to establish Government, presupposed the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.’
To respect its flag: The Army and Navy Regulations and Flag Etiquette published one year earlier, April 14, 1917.
and to defend it against all enemies: Emphasized in the Oath of Allegiance.
This author adds that given the era in which he was born and lived, William Tyler Page almost certainly held a very Biblical definition of “love” in his mind and heart when he wrote, “I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it.” Let’s see what the Bible says about “love.”
Love is between the people: “Love one another.” – 1 John 4
Love is all-encompassing: “Do everything in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14
Without love, other actions lose all relevance: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:2
Love forgives: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8
Love is the pinnacle of the top three characteristics of the saints: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Jesus commands it: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” – John 15:12
Love is a binding virtue: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:14
Love is the key ingredient in unity: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:2-3
Love is God within us: “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” – 1 John 4:12
Love is the conduit for building relationships: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10