June 14, 2021
“We identify the flag with almost everything we hold dear on earth, peace, security, liberty, our family, our friends, our home… But when we look at our flag and behold it emblazoned with all our rights we must remember that it is equally a symbol of our duties. Every glory that we associate with it is the result of duty done.”
~ Calvin Coolidge
Today we commemorate and celebrate Flag day in the United States. The American flag was established by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, necessitated by the Declaration of Independence. Per the resolution passed by the Second Continental Congress, our first flag incorporated “13 stripes, alternate red and white,” and “the union be13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
The tradition and history of why we celebrate Flag Day dates back to June 14, 1885, when Bernard J. Cigrand, a teacher-later-turned-dentist had his school celebrate what he referred to as the flags’ birthday, now known as Flag Day. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson officially decreed June 14 Flag Day and in 1927, President Calvin Coolidge did the same. Finally, in 1949, with President Harry Truman’s signature, Flag Day became a law and a national holiday (different that those federal holidays when banks, and such, are closed).
Not only did Truman designate June 14 as Flag Day, asking communities to commemorate the birth of the flag, “but also to rededicate ourselves to the ideals for which it stands.” Today more than ever, we need to remember that, as Truman said in his proclamation, “This beloved emblem, which flies above all out people whatever creed or race, signalizes our respect for human rights and the protection such rights are afforded under our form of government.”
The flag became a symbol of unity, representing the people of the United States, where our government is of them, by them, and for them. After 9/11, there was an increase in the number of flags flown. According Marc Leepson, author of the 2005 book, “Flag: An American Biography,” in no other country on the earth do citizens fly their flag where they live and go. It is important that “businesspeople, teachers, journalists, politicians, and private organizations have developed and pushed for many of the important changes in the evolution of the flag’s cultural importance.” It is our responsibility to not lose sight of the cultural relevance and importance of the flag, especially today.
A Flag Day Prayer
from the Manual of Ceremony and Prayer by the Sons of the American Legion
O God, we thank Thee for the flag of our country and for all that our flag represents. We thank Thee for giving victory to brave and valiant men (and women) who have given their last measure of strength in order that it might wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave. We thank Thee for giving us the ideals of faith, and liberty, for preserving the sanctity of our homes, and freedom of worship. Conscious of our limitations and our deep unworthiness we pray that our Flag may bind together the many elements in our own dear country, and foster in our ranks a one hundred percent Americanism. Make us who have served our country in time of war, willing at all times to uphold and defend our Constitution and our government Grant that this Union, of sovereign states, may remain forever an indissoluble Union flying the same flag. Amen