Flag Day, celebrated on June 14, commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States which occurred on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. It wasn't until 1916 that the president of the United States issued the proclamation which established Flag Day, but not as a national holiday.
Image Credit: Shane’s Photography
Image Source: pinterest.com/397864948300820614/
Flag Day was not only to celebrate its creation, but to acknowledge the ideals behind it. It is a time to pay respect to what's become part of American iconography.
THE MEANING OF THE US FLAG
While the US flag code [The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions - April 14, 2008] does not articulate any definition of what the flag is supposed to mean, it is generally thought of as representing the principles of liberty, justice, and humanity, and the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of the US.
WHERE DID THE NAME “OLD GLORY” COME FROM?
We frequently hear the US Flag referred to by the nickname “Old Glory”. That nickname has become synonymous with the US Flag, but in fact “Old Glory” is a specific, single flag.
The United States Flag was not referred to as “Old Glory” until March 17, 1824 when Captain William Driver turned 21 years old. His mother and a group of ladies in the area presented him with the flag as a gift, which he named “Old Glory”.
William Driver [March 17, 1803 – March 3, 1886], ran away from his home in Salem, Massachusetts at the age of thirteen to become a cabin boy on a ship. He must have kept in touch with his family because, at 21 Driver qualified as a master mariner and took command of his own ship, the Charles Doggett. To celebrate that occasion, his mother and other women from the community sewed a flag which they gave to him in 1824.
He was thrilled and named the flag “Old Glory”. Throughout his career he flew “Old Glory” from his ship. Later he settled in Nashville and brought the treasured flag with him.
Driver was 34 when his wife died on throat cancer leaving their three young children. He retired from sea faring and settled in Nashville, Tennessee, and later remarried.
He flew his flag every holiday, although it was so big he had to attach it to a rope from his attic window and stretched it on a pulley across the street to secure it to a locust tree.
THE CIVIL WAR
The original Old Glory had 24 stars. It was updated in 1861 with ten more stars, and a white anchor was added to signify the captain’s years at sea.
In 1861, when Tennessee seceded from the Union, the Confederates made an attempt to seize and destroy all union flags. To protect Old Glory, Captain Driver had the flag sewed inside a quilt.
On February 25, 1862, as Union soldiers entered Nashville, Old Glory was display above the state Capitol building. This was the last time Old Glory was flown.
OLD GLORY’S RESTING PLACE
Before his death in 1886, he presented the flag to his daughter with these words. “Mary Jane, this is my ship flag, Old Glory. It has been my constant companion. L love it as a mother lover her child. Cherish it as I have cherished it.” worldhistory.us/american-history/
New York: State Education Department. 1910. Public Domain Image Source:
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org/curid=9687050 newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/old-glory
FLAG MYTHS - TRUE or FALSE
Most American know a little about the US flag. Some remember that the thirteen stripes in white and red represent the thirteen colonies and the stars on the field of blue [originally 13 and now 50] represent the union of the states under one federal government. There are a number of myths, or at least misinterpretations, related to the US Flag, some oe which we learned in school.
● Betsy Ross made the first American Flag.
That's what I was taught back in the day. And back then, if it was in print, it had to be correct. Right?
Image Source: timetoast.com/betsy-ross Image Source: www.revolutionarywararchives.org
It's true that Ross made flags in Philadelphia in the late 1770, along with many other women, but most historians now believe the story about the first flag as pure legend
● The red, white, and blue colors symbolize American sacrifice.
Nothing in the statues mentions an official reason or explanation for the colors of our flag.
Burning the flag was illegal until 1989, when the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in Texas v. Johnson that burning the flag is a form of symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment.
In response, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act, but that law was also challenged and wound up in the Supreme Court. The court in 1990 essentially affirmed its earlier ruling, stating that any law banning flag burning violated free speech.
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org/US_Flag_Burn
Wait! Don't buy that T-shirt yet. The US Flag Code states the flag "should not" be displaying on any article of merchandise. [Other references say the words are "Shall never"]
But don't worry! The law doesn't have any provisions for enforcement, so are there are no Flag Police lurking around the corner to fine you. However, we should respect the flag, and I don't believe the last garment is very respectful.
MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL
Respect the flag and treat it properly.