While a seemingly perpetual stream of bad news from Washington, D.C. may sometimes make it pretty difficult for Americans to feel patriotic, Flag Day is a good opportunity to remember why the ongoing ideological battles many people find themselves immersed in matter.
By international standards — regardless of corruption, creeping oppression and the necessity of constant fight to retain liberties that are perpetually threatened by the proliferation of bureaucratic power — Americans still have it pretty good. And Flag Day is an opportunity to reflect upon why that is: The Founders of the United States, through bloody strife to detangle themselves from tyrannical power, realized the paramount value of setting up a governmental structure that afforded the masses the ability to draw down government power when public perception senses an elitist monopoly.
That is not to say that the American citizenry has always upheld its end of the bargain throughout the Nation’s history; but even when the Republic seems totally lost to the will of totalitarian minds, there is always at least a tireless vocal minority acting as a sort of life support for the original ideas of liberty espoused early in American history.
Congress adopted the 13-star, 13-stripe flag on June 14, 1777, stating: “That the Flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
President George Washington, explained the sentiment of the flag as follows: “We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty.”
In essence, the flag serves as a reminder of why America sought independence, what things were like beforehand and how its citizens should go about ensuring that bloody revolution against tyrannical oppressors is never again necessary.
Old Glory trivia
- “Strong evidence indicates that Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was responsible for the stars in the U.S. flag. At the time that the flag resolution was adopted, Hopkinson was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board’s Middle Department. Hopkinson also helped design other devices for the Government including the Great Seal of the United States. For his services, Hopkinson submitted a letter to the Continental Admiralty Board asking ‘whether a Quarter Cask of the public Wine will not be a proper & reasonable Reward for these Labours of Fancy and a suitable Encouragement to future Exertions of a like Nature.’ His request was turned down since the Congress regarded him as a public servant.” Sounds like today’s government officials could learn a thing or two about lavish spending on public servants from the Nation’s early lawmakers.
- “During the Revolutionary War, several patriots made flags for our new Nation. Among them were Cornelia Bridges, Elizabeth (Betsy) Ross, and Rebecca Young, all of Pennsylvania, and John Shaw of Annapolis, Maryland. Although Betsy Ross, the best known of these persons, made flags for 50 years, there is no proof that she made the first Stars and Stripes. It is known that she made flags for the Pennsylvania State Navy in 1777. The flag popularly known as the ‘Betsy Ross flag,’ which arranged the stars in a circle, did not appear until the early 1790’s.”
Via the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs :
- “The flag was first carried in battle at Brandywine, Pa., in September 1777. It first flew over foreign territory in early 1778, at Nassau, Bahama Islands, where Americans captured a fort from the British.”
- “After Vermont and Kentucky became states in the 1790s, Congress approved adding two more stars and two more stripes to the group that represented the original 13 colonies, now states. This was the Star Spangled Banner” of which Francis Scott Key wrote in 1814.”
- “As other states entered the Union, it became obvious that stripes could not be added continually, so in 1818 Congress reestablished the 13-stripe flag for the original 13 colonies and allowed for additional stars for new states.”
And a song to get you in the Flag Day spirit, Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag”