Honoring Old Glory on Flag Day

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For almost 232 years, the symbol of our nation has survived.  It is still waving over the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.  And yet -- hey, wait a minute.  Remember the national day known as Flag Day? Get your flags ready to fly, if they are not up already. This is in fact National Flag Week. Flag Day is this Saturday, June 14. It is the day our country has set aside to honor the flag.

Flag Day is one of those national days that most Americans seem to forget.  Would we remember it better if it came with a day off work like The Fourth of July?  That's a silly notion.  Perhaps, instead we need to instill in each other a new sense of patriotism.  The pride in our country that makes you jump to your feet when the flag enters a room or an assembly.  The kind of pride that reminds you to take off your hat as the flag passes by in a parade.  The sense of pride that brings a small tear to your eye when you see the flag waving proudly in the breeze, whether it be over a national memorial or over your local elementary school.

The flag is, after all, one of the common national symbols that unite us together as a people -- as Americans.

The Origin of the Flag

Today, scholars still debate who sewed the first American flag. Many legends surround its first creation or birth. One legend that comes down from 1776 says that George Washington commissioned seamstress Betsy Ross of Philadelphia to sew a flag that would represent the new nation. Ross knew Washington and sewed many flags.

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed a resolution calling for a national banner.

"Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation."

The flag's 13 red and white stripes represent the thirteen original colonies. Each star in the blue field represents each of the 50 states in the Union.

Did You Know:

--There have been 27 different versions of the Star Spangled Banner. The present flag bearing 50 stars became our country's official flag on July 4, 1960.

--The idea of celebrating the flag's birthday dates to 1885. B.J. Cigrand, a Fredonia, Wisconsin public school teacher, had his pupils observe June 14 as the "Flag Birthday."

--Many communities and a few states had celebrated Flag Day from around 1861 at the start of the American Civil War. However, it was not until 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as a national Flag Day celebrating the adoption of the Stars and the Stripes.

--Congressional legislation was signed by President Harry Truman in 1949 designating June 14 as national Flag Day. The law also called upon the President to issue a flag day proclamation every year.

--The flag's name "Old Glory" reportedly came from Captain William Driver, a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts.  Some of his friends gave him a brand new flag of 24 stars. As the banner was hoisted above his ship and as it was caught by the breeze Driver exclaimed "Old Glory!"  Captain Driver's grave in the Old Nashville, TN City Cemetery is only one of three places authorized by Congress where the Flag of the United States may be flown 24-hours a day.

--There is a Flag Code for displaying your flag and is authorized by the United States Senate.

Remember -- honor our nation's flag Saturday.  Let's see thousands and thousands of flags of the red, white and blue billowing in the breeze.  Fly your flag.

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by Steve Warren

by Steve Warren

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