Kudos to the Independent Journal for reporting on a Flag Day event yesterday. As we drove around the county yesterday, with our car flags flying proudly, I reflected on how many folks know some of the history of our flag. Sure they know the Fort McHenry story which was the genesis of our national anthem but do they really know what Flag Day means.
On June 14 1777 the United States, all 13 of them, adopted what is commonly known as the Betsy Ross Flag with 13 alternating red and white stripes and a circle of 13 white stars on a blue background as the canton. While the legend of Betsy Ross is somewhat murky it is known that George Washington was the driving force behind a new flag. He also decided that the stars would be 5 pointed rather than six.
This flag replaced the flag used by the Continental Army known as the Grand Union Flag which consisted of the 13 alternating red and white stripes and the British Kings Colors as the canton.
On the seal of the Veterans Administration
· The eagle represents the United States.
· The circle of 5 stars above the eagle stands for the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
· The flags in the eagle's claws show America's history from 13 colonies to 50 states. (The Betsy Ross flag and the current 50 star flag)
· The gold cord is a symbol for those who died while serving our country. The eagle is holding the cord to keep the memory of those veterans alive.
If any of you reading this are history or government teachers please put a lecture on the flag and is symbolism in your curricula.
As Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, Sergeant USMC so eloquently stated:
"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."