Celebrating Our Flag on Independence Day

Does the familiar sight of the red, white, and blue unfurling in the breeze still bring tears to your eyes? Does it make you stop and think about what it means, or have we all become so jaded we don’t even place our hand over our hearts when the National Anthem is played?

No one knows with absolute certainty who designed the first stars and stripes or who made it. The story I grew up with is that Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress who was acquainted with George Washington, made the first one, but its design is also attributed to Congressman Francis Hopkinson.

On June 14, 1777, to establish an official flag for the new nation, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act: “Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

Flags dating before June 24, 1912 sometimes show unusual arrangements of the stars and odd proportions. On this date an Executive Order designated the official design of our flag.

Flag etiquette includes this rule, which I see violated many times:  “It is generally not desirable to fly the flag outdoors when the weather is particularly inclement because exposure to severe winds and rain may damage the flag or the pole on which it is displayed.”

I remember putting up and taking down the flag at my one-room country grade school, and we all had to learn the proper way to fold it and to hoist it.

We also said the Pledge of Allegiance in school at a time when “God” was not considered a “four-letter word.”

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

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Published in: on July 4, 2011 at 1:26 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you, Heidi, for the lovely tribute to our flag. I think my most memorable moment with our flag was when I was in New York with the Red Cross responding to 9/11. During the Thanksgiving Parade, fireman displayed the tattered flag that survived the bombing. It was holey, torn and dirty, but just seeing that flag silenced a already somber crowd.

    • That will be a moment you’ll never forget!


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