14 June 2012

Yes, It's FLAG DAY...

Today is that "non" holiday that signifies the banner which represents our nation.
SO, if you haven't gotten your flag out yet...go get it done.
(technically, it should be up from sunrise to sunset).
And we'll be delving more into our nation's symbol in a minute, but first...it's time for the answer to yesterday's WHO SAID THAT? quote:
"Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a FREE MAN contending for liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth."
This was spoken by none other than George Washington, 2 July, 1776, General order to the Continental Army.
(WTG, John D. with that wild-a$$ guess of yours...LOL)
So nice to see that words spoken all those years ago STILL carry weight and can have such an impact TODAY.
Meanwhile...back at Betsy Ross's house...
*** The flag of the United States of America carries with it a special meaning to those schooled in the ways to present it, how to properly treat it, and to inspire those who serve under it.
And, as you would expect, there is a HUGE WIKI on this (that should be read..and often), which can be found HERE:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_United_States
Amazingly, when George Washington spoke the words above, we (as an emerging nation) had no REAL flag to speak of.
Our first "real" flag was basically the Union Jack (located where the field of stars are today), with THIRTEEN red and white stripes running horizontally, as they still are today.
This was the flag used until the adoption in 1777 of the BLUE FIELD with 13 stars found therein.
And it's here that a point of contention arises, for we find out that SEVERAL 13 star variants existed and even in 1779, Secretary of the Board of War, Richard Peters expressed concern that we had not yet adopted ONE version of the flag to represent our nation.
The Flag Resolution of 1777 had not specifically stipulated the EXACT representation of the field of stars...but the thirteen stripes DID remain uniform throughout this time. A "new constellation" of the 13 stars was all that was said to be contained in the blue field.
Other "variants" that are believed to have been used were the Guilford Court House Flag, the Frances Hopkinson Flag (seen here) and most notably, the Betsy Ross Flag.
In 1795, we actually INCREASED the number of stripes from 13 to 15 when Kentucky and Vermont entered the Union.
On 4 April, 1818, it was decided by Congress on the suggestion of naval Captain Samuel C. Reid that the number of stripes be RETURNED to the original 13, with ONE STAR ADDED for each new state entering the Union...and THAT stuck.
At the WIKI site, there are even "possibilities" for a flag that contains FIFTY-ONE stars.
(If we annex MEXICO??? Oh, God...I hope not)
It's also amazing to see how OTHER nations have followed OUR lead and adopted flags with similar "stars and bars", but NONE come close to our OLD GLORY.
*** I was brought up to have something we used to call RESPECT for our flag, and to this day, I will NEVER allow ANY flag (representative of MY country) in MY possession to touch the ground.
Then again, I come from a time when saying the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE was done EVERY single day before classes started.
And not ONE of us children (or parents) bitched, bemoaned, or complained when we had to recite it...because we were instructed as to WHY we say it, and what it means. Schools were ALLOWED to do such "radical" things back then...it was called being PATRIOTIC.
We didn't have any atheists coming along telling us that it was an intrusion to their child's lifestyle, or some anti-American claiming it was his/her right to NOT say the Pledge and stand before our FLAG.
Today, it's all about not offending ANYone...at all.
Sorry, but life happens in REALVILLE, folks...and people's feeling will get hurt some time or another.
Later on in life, our flag has come to mean a lot more than an early morning recital by some 2nd graders.
It takes on a greater meaning...if you grow up to believe in what our nation has stood for, and we're not talking politics here.
Our national symbol is SO much larger than ANY political party and pundit.
A flag-draped coffin of a fallen soldier...a half-masted flag on the passing of a head-of-state or President...a gathering of immigrants, standing in front of our flag, speaking an oath to OUR nation as they become citizens...ALL of these, and more is what our flag is all about.
It is a symbol of the freedoms and liberties we have fought for...died for, and secured for ourselves over all those years.
It is a rallying cry for those in battle.
It is a reminder that sacrifice is as much a part of living as is drawing your next breath.
At the WIKI site, there is also a compilation of ALL the flags we've had, as well as how to properly fold it for storage or presentation (to surviving family members). It also shows when each star was added and for which state.
Many think "it's just a hunk of cloth"...maybe so.
After all, there is no "magic" imbued when the cloth is made, or the stars embroidered.
Any "magic" comes AFTER it's complete, and flies proudly on a mast, becoming the symbol that so many of us treasure.
Seeing our flag wave in the breeze SHOULD bring a lump to one's throat, when you think of ALL that it has stood for since this nation was founded, as well as the fact that through every single battle and bit of turmoil, IT remained steadfast (as Francis Scott Key noted when he penned the poem The Star Spangled Banner).
I can think of NO other nation whose NATIONAL ANTHEM is based SOLELY upon that nation's FLAG.
There is an old hymn entitled "There's Power in the Blood" which speaks to the blood of Christ.
I would maintain that there is ALSO power in our FLAG...the power to humble...to inspire...and to make proud the people who live under it's protection.
Long may it wave...!
Well, I guess I'm about done doing my "soapbox sermon" for the day...
Fly YOUR flag with pride today.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay SAFE out there, America.

4 comments:

CWMartin said...

Wow, you mean if it hadn'nt been for Reid, our flag would look like pink corduroy? I did not know that! Weird, wild stuff...

Bob G. said...

CWM:
Yeah, here's a case of a man named REID that actually did something POSITIVE for our government...LOL.

The history of our flag IS a really neat read.

Now, about ALL those girls wearing those AMERICAN FLAG string bikinis that they REALLY need to REMOVE (because it's a tad disrespectful)....um, perhaps that didn't come out EXACTLY the way I meant it.

Or maybe it DID, after all...LMAO!

Hey, thanks for stopping on by today and commenting.

Stay safe up there.

John D. said...

Like a broken clock, I'm right twice a day. Apparently my WAG for that quote was one of those 2 times. I don't know when the other happened, but you can be pretty sure it wasn't when I was having a discussion with the wife. :)

Nice post on Old Glory, btw.

Bob G. said...

John D.:
Are any of your "discussions" with the wife ONE sided (as are many if mine)?
Just curious...LOL
She's not into such things like COMICS..or GUNS...or AIRCRAFT...or CARS.
Why the hell NOT???
Seems to be a fate of marrieds these days!

Glad you enjoyed OLD GLORY...as should we all.
The reading of the history of our symbol should be REQUIRED of every student on our schools.

We all need to get back in touch with WHO WE ARE as a nation.

Thanks for stopping by today and commenting.

Roll safe out there.