Surprisingly, most Americans are not all that knowledgeable about the history of the American flag. Sure, we proudly fly the red, white and blue every Fourth of July, but most of us forget what makes our flag such a source of inspiration for citizens of this country and millions of people around the world.
It’s hard to believe that Flag Day is just around the corner, and only three short weeks later it will be the Fourth of July. In a longstanding tradition, many Americans will celebrate these patriotic holidays by proudly displaying the American flag. The U.S. Flag Code dictates certain ways to fly (and not fly) the red, white and blue, so before you start decorating your home or business, follow these important rules. Continue reading “‘Tis the Season for Flying the American Flag”
Did you know that our American Flag “Old Glory” has been a major player in many movies? American history lovers and movie trivia buffs are often amazed at how often the American flag makes a cameo appearance in popular films. Who knows, maybe it will one day have its own star on the Hollywood walk of fame.
The U.S flag has been no stranger to the movies, with some of its most familiar appearances being in Patton and Flags of our Fathers. But it has served as far more than a patriotic backdrop for war epics; our own Star Spangled Banner has also played some unusual cameo roles. Continue reading “The American Flag Deserves an Oscar Nomination”
When most people think about Memorial Day and the three-day weekend that surrounds it, they are reminded of barbecues, a day at the beach, or the day that the swim club opens for business. But anyone who has served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines is aware of a much deeper meaning. Memorial Day is more than just a day to fly the American Flag from your front porch while firing up the grill in the backyard. It is a day of remembrance for our fallen soldiers, and many public ceremonies are held across the country, including the National Memorial Day remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery.
As Americans, we rarely give much thought to the stars on the American flag. We know there are fifty of them; and that’s really all that matters, right? Many people don’t realize that the number of stars on the American flag wasn’t always equal to the number of states. Continue reading “The Evolution of the Stars on the American Flag”
Flying the American flag isn’t the only Memorial Day tradition to remember, but it is the most enduring. Over recent decades, Memorial Day weekend has become known as the ‘unofficial start of summer” even though it falls on the last Monday in May. It is the opening day for swim clubs, the day when it becomes acceptable to carry a white purse, and official deadline for buying a new swimsuit. But Memorial Day got its start in 1866 as Decoration Day. Continue reading “Are You Ready to Display the American Flag on Memorial Day?”
In the United States, there is no symbol that inspires patriotism more than the American Flag. Author Kit Hinrichs has put together a fantastic collection of flag memorabilia, a passion she has pursued over the past forty years.
In her book, she shows how many different “official” flags we have had throughout this country’ history – 27 in all! But that number pales in comparison to the thousands of “unofficial” American flags. Studying the evolution of the flag proves just how much the American spirit has evolved over the past 234 years. Continue reading “The American Flag – “Long May She Wave””
The original flag of the Sons of Liberty was probably the first version of the American flag to bear red and white stripes. It was during their protest against tyranny that the decision was made to use stripes, and it was this design that the British soon referred to as “rebel stripes”. Even though the flag has changed considerably since then, and the stripes are not there as signs of protest against the British Stamp Act, the symbolic stripes of liberty have lived on. Continue reading “How did the American Flag earn its Stripes?”
It’s hard to imagine how a USA holiday called Flag Day could become so “under-celebrated” in a country that seemingly adores its flag. Perhaps it is because Flag Day falls somewhere in between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, but it may also have something to do with the date. Unlike Memorial Day and Labor Day, the “bookmark weekends” of summer, Flag Day falls on June 14th every year. As a result, it is rarely on a day of the week when one can skip work, fly the American flag, and have a barbecue. Continue reading “Raise the American Flag Proudly on Flag Day”
Just in time for the most patriotic season of the year, families across America are getting out their American flags and other red, white and blue decorations. The celebrations start with Memorial Day, and are followed closely by Flag Day, Independence Day, and Patriot Day on 9/11. Of course, no one needs an excuse to proudly display their American flag decorations. In small towns with historic and Victorian houses, it is not uncommon to see flags lining walkways and hung from porch columns all year ‘round.
If you’ve been thinking about sprucing up the exterior of your home this spring, why not consider pleated fan flags across your porch railing. Or consider hanging American flag banners around a gazebo or decorative fence. Pair these patriotic decorations with red, white and blue flowers in your garden, and your home will be ready for an all-American style barbecue by Memorial Day.
Looking ahead to the Fourth of July, consider stocking up on extra American flag banners, table covers and streamers, as well as stick flags, sparklers and centerpieces with a red, white and blue patriotic theme. These can also be used later on to decorate your children’s bikes if your town has an Independence Day Parade.
No holiday cook-out would be complete without a patriotic dessert. Why not try a simple sheet cake, iced with whipped topping and decorated with stripes made of strawberries and stars made of blueberries? This American flag cake is always a hit, especially when it is decorated with sparklers!
More than likely, the American flag is the most recognizable flag on the planet. Even when it is lined up with hundreds of other flags, it’s hard to miss those stars and stripes flying in the wind, and it is doubtful it would ever be mistaken for the flag of another country.
Most Americans pride themselves on their knowledge of the American flag’s history, such as the number of stars representing the number of states, and the number of stripes the number of original colonies. But there are many little-known “American Flag facts” that few people know about.
Did you know that the flag should only displayed until dark, and that it should be taken down at dusk? If you have ever been a Boy Scout, this might not be news to you. But many people don’t know that a flag can be displayed around the clock as long as it is well-lit. However, the flag should always be taken down in foul weather.
If a flag is ever flown upside down, it spells danger. The only time this should be done is when you are in need of immediate assistance. Other countries interpret an upside-down flag as being at war.
When a flag can no longer be used, and it cannot be repaired, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, such as burning. However, it is acceptable to dry clean or wash a flag that is dirty.
Any individual can have a flag draped over their coffin, even if they are not a veteran.
Only the President and State Governors are allowed to order government buildings to fly their flags at half staff.
According to the chronicles of American flag history, the name “Old Glory” was coined in 1831 by a shipmaster from Salem Massachusetts named Captain William Driver. As the story goes, Captain Driver was on his way out to sea on a voyage to rescue the mutineers of the Bounty, when he was presented with a beautiful 24-star American flag. Once at sea, when the flag opened up to the ocean’s breeze, he was heard exclaiming “Old Glory!”
Even after his retirement, Captain Driver would take his treasured flag with him to Nashville, where everyone in town recognized it as “Old Glory.” His flag was so famous that after Tennessee seceded from the Union, Rebel fighters were determined to seize and destroy it. But after several attempts to find it in Driver’s home, they eventually gave up.
In 1862, when Union forces once again raised the American flag over Nashville, residents started asking the Captain, “Whatever happened to “Old Glory?”
Sure enough, he was able to produce the renowned flag by releasing it from the quilted enclosure of his bed covers. As soldiers peered inside, there it was – the 24-star original American flag “Old Glory”. What a day that was in Nashville! On February 25, 1862, a 60 year-old Captain Driver gathered up that flag and climbed to the top of city tower, where he replaced the small Union flag with his beloved “Old Glory” to the cheers of the Sixth Ohio Regiment.
To this day, Captain William Driver’s grave in Nashville is one of the few places in America where the United States flag can be flown 24 hours a day.
Ever since the American Flag was adopted by Congress in 1777 on June 14th (which we now know as Flag Day), people have set about making rules to ensure it is displayed properly and with a high degree of respect.
Even if your neighbors don’t care about how and when you fly the United States (U.S.) Flag, there are a number of guidelines that have been recorded in national law books. In fact, if you read the Patriotic Customs section of Chapter 10 in the Title 36 of the U.S. Code, you will learn there are many accepted “norms” in how the flag should be flown.
As Memorial Day approaches, it helps to know the proper way to display “old glory” without breaking any rules.
According to the U.S. Flag Code the following holidays are recognized as days to display the flag:
1. New Year’s Day – Jan. 1
2. Inauguration Day – Jan. 20
3. Lincoln’s Birthday – Feb. 12
4. Washington’s Birthday – third Monday in February
5. Easter Sunday – (variable)
6. Mother’s Day – second Sunday in May
7. Armed Forces Day – third Saturday in May
8. Memorial Day (half-staff until noon) – last Monday in May
9. Flag Day – June 14
10. Independence Day – July 4
11. Labor Day – first Monday in September
12. Constitution Day – Sept. 17
13. Columbus Day – second Monday in October
14. Navy Day – Oct. 27
15. Veterans Day – Nov. 11
16. Thanksgiving Day – fourth Thursday in November
17. Christmas Day – Dec. 25
In addition, the U.S. Flag Code encourages citizens to display the United States Flag on certain days that are proclaimed by the President, and on the date when their state was admitted into the union.
Flags should be raised quickly at dawn and ceremoniously lowered at dusk, and should only be displayed after dark if it dramatically lit. On days when the flag is to be flown at half-staff, it should be raised quickly to the top, held there for a moment and then lowered to half staff. The same should be repeated when the flag is lowered for the day.
In addition, the U.S. flag should not be displayed in the rain or snow unless the flag is weather-proof.
These are the basic rules for displaying the American flag, but there are many little-known facts which pertain to displaying the flag in public places, on vehicles or in patriotic observances.
Many people are unaware of this, but the historic tale of the American flag was not without a few snags. Before we arrived at the “stars and stripes” version we know and love today, the story had a lot of twists and turns.
When Betsy Ross first sewed the the first American flag in history, it was after several versions were under consideration. It wasn’t until a few problems arose with the other versions that Betsy finally undertook her famous “stars and stripes” edition, which eventually became the symbol for the unification of the American colonies.
Another version that was under consideration looked a lot like the red, white and blue banner of the British. When George Washington used this version at Prospect Hill, many of his loyalists mistook it for a sign of defeat. After this, many key members of the Congressional Committee enlisted the help of Betsy Ross. A personal friend of George Washington in Philadelphia, Mrs. Ross was already running an upholstery shop when the committee presented her with a crude drawing. She turned this into the very first flag of the United States.
The first American flag was raised on July 4, 1776, the date that is now known as Independence Day. It is a time when all U.S. citizens celebrate the hard won freedom from British rule. To this day, whenever the American flag is raised it remains a symbol of the battles that were won in the struggle for independence, and it is an inspiration to American citizens.
The American flag is more than a symbol of American patriotism; it is a symbol of American resolve. Even in our country’s early darkest days, the sight of the original Betsy Ross American flag has inspired many to remember the strength and commitment to freedom that is within us all, and it continues to inspire many to greatness today.
Long a symbol of the sacrifices made for the freedom we enjoy, the American flag means a lot to United States citizens. The red, white, and blue flies proudly over business, homes, churches, schools, stadiums and public office buildings, but the largest U.S. flags are flown prominently over auto dealerships. I wasn’t quite sure how this became a trend, so I decided to investigate it for myself.
At first I thought these large outdoor American USA flags were designed to make people feel patriotic about buying a car, or to point out that the cars sold at a particular dealership were American-made, but it seems like neither one of these is true. Ultimately, most dealers fly large flags overhead because they want to get noticed by passing traffic.
Another popular use for super-sized American flags has been in major sporting events. This is especially true since the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It started out in the weeks following 9/11, when the New York Stock Exchange draped a mammoth US flag from the top of the roof to the sidewalk below. Later, field-sized American flags were used to cover the playing field before a major sporting event like the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
The flags used by Major League Baseball are quite large, at 75 x 150 feet, but they small in comparison to some other flags used at college and professional football games. Even the organizers of the Superbowl have gotten into the action, as well as auto racing and other American pastimes.
Large American flags bring the allure of patriotism to major sporting events, and when they are unfurled by hundreds of people around the field they can elicit a sense of national pride and optimism from the surrounding crowd.