It has aroused grown men to tears. It has inspired young men to fight. Many have died to protect it from defamation and dishonor. Nations salute it. Government and its citizens pledge their allegiance to it. Songs have been written for it.
It is called by many names, Old Glory, Stars and Stripes, Flag of the Free, Banner of Liberty, Star Spangled Banner, The Flag of the United States of America ¾ and June 14, is its day ¾ Flag Day.
It is the greatest symbol of liberty and justice in the world today and it was 237 years ago, on
1777, that the
Continental Congress resolved:
...that the Flag of the United States be 13 stripes alternate red and white, and the Union be 13 stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.
The red and white stripes represent our original colonies and the stars, our 50 states.
The Flag of the Free never flies higher than in a time of distress when our citizens become one and then it blazes in its splendor. Its colors represent red for hardiness and courage; white for purity and innocence; and blue for vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
When the heroes that raised Old Glory on that hill in
Iwo Jima in ’45, , Ira Hayes , Franklin
Sousley , John Bradley , Harlon
Block , and Michael Strank , it was so, as they said, Rene Gagnon
"every Marine on this cruddy island can see it."
And as our history has borne many heroes, after a brutal terrorist attack on American soil, September 11, 2001, New York City Firefighters, Billy Eisengrein, George Johnson, and Dan McWilliams raised The Flag of the Free on
Ground Zero and our nation resounded in a freedom
call for which our troops willingly fought.
Wrought in history is The Flag of the
. It was during the war of 1812 that the glory
of the Star Spangled Banner flying
steadfastly amid exploding bombs in Baltimore Harbor inspired Francis Scott
Key to write when, the smoke cleared, what he saw, that “...our flag was still there," and the
story of what he witnessed by the dawn's
early light, became song, words that resonate evermore, that our flag waves O'er the land of the free and the home of
the brave, The Star Spangled Banner, our National Anthem. United
States of America
This Banner of Liberty that evolved from 66 different flags began with another American hero,
General , who asked George Washington to make him a banner that would represent the liberty on which our Betsy Ross was founded.
One hundred years after The Flag of the United States of America was adopted by the Continental Congress, the anniversary of that declaration was first observed and Old Glory was honored, on June 14th.
The evolving official United States National Flag, has become a muse for equality and independence, and is a symbol of our ideals. Americans all over the world display The Flag of The Free–not just on Flag Day but during times of conflict, Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day. It is with reverence that we drape Old Glory on the caskets of those that have served and died, resting the starry blue canton over our champion’s heads.
No other flag flies higher than The Flag of the United States of America with exception for the Church Pendant as Chaplains conduct services at sea and the United Nations Flag. The deference to our Stars and Stripes carries meaning beyond national respect as the United States Flag flown upside down represents a distress signal, and is flown at half-mast as a symbol of mourning.
Scores of American children learn early to stand with hands over their hearts, watching, as The Flag of the Free unfurls dramatically aloft and free, symbolizing the freedom for which it represents.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…, are words written by Francis Bellamy that have survived 117 years to Pledge Allegiance to our National Symbol Of Liberty.
In 1942 Congress made this Pledge of Allegiance part of the uniform code for the use of The Flag of the United States of America, and in 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the two words that added "under God" to the pledge.
Since that time, schoolchildren all over The United States of America recite each day:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the
to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with
liberty and justice for all." United
States of America
© 1981 Janet Goodrich