and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Today, June 14th is Flag Day. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened 236 years ago on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.
This holiday had a very rough start.
|American Flag 1861|
In 1861, at the start of the Civil War, a man named George Morris persuaded his city of Hartford, Conn., to undertake a patriotic celebration on behalf of the Union. But the concept didn’t catch on, there or elsewhere.
Who would you vote for if the elections were held today?
Two decades later, in 1885, a 19-year-old Waubeka schoolteacher named Bernard Cigrand plunked a small flag into an inkwell on his desk and assigned his students to write essays on patriotism. Later he traveled the country to promote respect for the flag, becoming president of the American Flag Day Association.
In 1888, William Kerr, son of a Civil War veteran, founded the American Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania, pressing presidents and legislators to make Flag Day official. In his home town of Rennersdale, near Pittsburgh, a historical marker honors Kerr as the “Father of Flag Day.”
In 1889, New York City principal George Bolch had his school hold patriotic ceremonies to observe the day. State officials later expanded the program. In 1893, Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, head of the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania, worked to have public buildings in Philadelphia display flags – an effort that led one federal office to credit Philadelphia as Flag Day’s original home.
Still, Flag Day struggled for official respect. It wasn’t until 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson issued a wishy-washy proclamation to “suggest and request. . . if possible” that people observe Flag Day. Thirty-three years later, in 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed an act passed by Congress naming Flag Day as the 14th.
Today Saluting the Flag or even being patriotic seems to some corny or even jingoistic, but when America is challenged we pull together as these Boston Red Sox Fans did the first game after the Marathon Bombing.
be 13 stripes alternate red and white: that the union be 13 stars,
white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” The
Constitution was written 10 years after that and ratified in 1789.
flag, but she recounted that she was asked to sew the flag by her fellow
churchgoer, George Washington. Ross had also done some seamstress work
for Washington. You can read the debates online, but here’s what the
historic marker in front of her house says: “Credited with making the
first stars and stripes flag,
Ross was a successful upholsterer. She produced flags for the
government for over 50 years. As a skilled artisan, Ross represents the
many women who supported their families during the Revolution and early
into use in 1959. According to the North American Vexillological
Association, there are currently no degrees offered on the subject.
accommodate the addition of new states. President James Monroe and
Congress agreed in 1818 that there should be 13 stripes as well as one
star for each state in the Union.
flying on the moon, thanks to the Apollo astronauts. You may not be
able to see markings on them, though; they have mostly likely turned
white over the years.
named after its designer, General Christopher Gadsden. The flag was
used in the Revolutionary War. There are other variations of the flag
with rattlesnakes and versions of the motto. Benjamin Franklin was one
of the originators of the snake as an American political symbol, in a
famous 1754 political cartoon.
involved in military actions against the Barbary pirates and after they
hit the shore, they raised the Stars and Stripes. After the Battle of
Derne in 1805, the flag was raised on foreign soil for the first time
after a battle.
flying after a British attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore in 1814,
while he was a guest on a British ship as he negotiated for the return
of American prisoners. His experience inspired him to write a poem,
“Defence of Fort McHenry.” After it was published, Key matched it up
with music from a popular British tune, which eventually became “The
Star-Spangled Banner,” our national anthem. By the way, if “vexillology”
wasn’t enough fun, here’s another one: the act of adding new lyrics to
an existing song is called “contrafactum.”
conceived of by the late Thomas Demski measures 505 by 225 feet and
weighs 3,000 pounds. It takes 600 people to unfurl. Each star is 17 feet
high. Bonus fact: The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia has
its own giant American flag on display in its Grand Hall Overlook,
surrounded by the flags of all the U.S. states and territories and with
the iconic Independence Hall in the background. The flag has flown over
the capitals of all 50 states and was hung by Muhammad Ali in a special
Flag Day ceremony on June 14, 2003, when the museum opened.
who grants salvation to kings and dominion to rulers, Whose kingdom is
a kingdom spanning all eternities; Who places a road in the sea and a
path in the mighty waters – may you bless the President, the Vice
President, and all the constituted officers of government of this land.
May they execute their responsibilities with intelligence, honor and
compassion. May they hold fast to the provisions of the constitution, may they always honor the flag of this country and the republic for which it stands. And may these United States continue to be the land of the
free and the home of the brave