Georgia lawmakers add ‘courage’ to state pledge

Members of the Georgia House of Representatives stand for the pledge of allegiance during the first day of the 2021 legislative session at the Georgia State Capitol building in downtown Atlanta, Monday, January 11, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Combined ShapeCaption
Members of the Georgia House of Representatives stand for the pledge of allegiance during the first day of the 2021 legislative session at the Georgia State Capitol building in downtown Atlanta, Monday, January 11, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

The Georgia House gave final approval Monday to a bill that would add the word “courage” to the state’s pledge of allegiance, supplementing the ideals of “wisdom, justice, and moderation.”

The change is meant to reflect all four cardinal virtues of government identified by the Greek philosopher Plato in his most famous work, the Republic.

“Our pledge was missing ‘courage,’ ” said state Rep. Joseph Gullett, a Republican from Acworth. “I can tell you that courage is not lacking in our state. There is no better time than now to acknowledge that courage.”

The House voted 125-23 to approve Senate Bill 152, which now advances to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature or veto.

The addition of “courage” was sought by Republican members of the state Senate, which recites the pledge before the chamber begins its daily business. The Georgia pledge isn’t often used in schools, other state agencies or the state House.

The legislation doesn’t change Georgia’s state seal, which contains the words “wisdom,” “justice” and “moderation” displayed on banners wrapped around three pillars supporting the state constitution. The seal also includes a picture of a soldier with his sword drawn, which Gullett said represents the value of courage.


Pledge of allegiance to the Georgia flag

“I pledge allegiance to the Georgia flag and to the principles for which it stands: Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation.”