Our American flag has a proud history, and has survived many battles and wars since its official inception in 1777. The Continental Congress passed a resolution that read: ‘Resolved that the flag be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.’ In 1949, President Harry S. Truman declared June 14 to be “Flag Day”. The history of the very first flag is really unknown, except that historians give the credit to Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress.
Today, the American flag has seven red and six white alternating, horizontal stripes representing the 13 colonies. The fifty stars represent the states of the Union, and the red, white, and blue colors are symbolic; red for bravery; white for purity; and blue for justice. During an intense British bombardment, Francis Scott Key was so moved by the flag still flying over Fort McHenry, that he penned the words to the “Star-Spangled Banner”. This song became our national anthem in 1931. The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892. President Eisenhower requested Congress to add the words “under God” in 1954, which completed the final form of the pledge.
Our flag has been honored in many places around the globe. Robert Peary placed a handmade flag sewn by his wife at the North Pole in 1909. After climbing Mt. Everest, Barry Bishop left an American flag at the top. In 1969, Neil Armstrong placed the first flag on the moon symbolizing America’s first mission to the moon. In 1805, the American flag was first flown overseas at a fort in Libya.
There is a Flag Code as to the care and display of the flag. Because it is a symbol of patriotism to our country and its people, it can never be displayed with the stars representing the union in a downward position. It must never touch the ground or anything beneath it. Members of the military or veterans are to stand at attention and salute, while civilians should place their right hand over their hearts and remove any headgear. The flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset, but can be displayed at night, if illuminated. We are to honor and respect the American flag and always give it the dignity it deserves when displayed.
Old Glory is still flying above our proud, brave, and freedom-loving nation despite the many challenges throughout the past 200 years. We remain the “land of the free and the home of the brave!” We should never take our freedom for granted, and must always respect the American flag. As long as I have breath in my body, I will stand and place my hand over my heart and recite the following words: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
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