The U.S. Flag, adopted on June 14, 1777, is the fourth oldest national flag in the world. Denmark’s flag, adopted in 1219, is the oldest.
A flag expert is called a “vexillologist.”
The blue field on the U.S. Flag is called the “union.”
At his request, since 1834, the U.S. Flag has flown continuously next to the grave of the Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, near Paris, France.
June 14 was proclaimed Flag Day by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. While Flag Day was a popular celebration in scores of communities for many years after Wilson’s proclamation, it didn’t receive its official Congressional designation until 1949.
On June 14, 1777 the Founding Fathers gave the United States its first symbol with just 28 words in a jewel-like message: “The Flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white, that the Union be 13 stars, white on a blue field representing a new constellation.”
Historically in the United States the tallest flag pole was erected outside the Oregon Building at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, California and trimmed from a Douglas Fir. The flagpole stood 299 feet 7 inches high and weighed 51.8 tons.
Currently, the tallest standing flagpole is in Gladsen, AL measuring 242 feet high with a 5 H.P. motor to hoist a flag 60 feet by 100 feet at the Pollock Motor Company premises.
A company in Philadelphia,PA completed a 505 feet by 255 feet flag in 1992. It weighs one and one-half tons. The flag was commissioned by Ski Demski of Long Beach, CA. The fabric alone cost $30,000 wholesale. Sewing it took “several thousand man hours.”
Can We Wave The Flag Too Much?
Is it possible to wave the Flag too much? Provided, of course, that you wave it with integrity? Is it possible to study Lincoln or Shakespeare too much? Is it possible to read the Bible too much?
The great, the good, the true are inexhaustible for inspiration, example and strength. I believe that we are not waving our Flag enough, not nearly enough.
It seems to me that we are developing a tendency to be timid or even apologetic about waving the Stars and Stripes. Walk up and down the streets on the 4th of July and count the Flags. It is our nation’s birthday, a sacred day in world history, the most important day of America. Why isn’t the Flag flying on every rooftop and from every home and building? This complacent attitude is strong evidence of cancerous patriotic decay. The flag is a symbol of our national unity. It is the spirit of undying devotion to our Country. It stands for the best that is in us…for loyalty, character, and faith in democracy.
Isn’t our Flag a synonym of the United States of America? Does it not represent a man’s greatest, noblest, most sublime dream? Is it not the zenith of achievement, the goal to which generations have aspired?
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it is time for us…for the mad, rushing Twentieth Century American…to stop for a moment and think. Let us arrest our near reverential admiration of material success and return to the spiritual and ethical values. Let us imbue and rekindle in ourselves and our children the so-called old fashioned way of patriotism, a burning devotion to the principles and ideals upon which our Country was founded.
Should not every home own, and proudly display the Colors on holidays and other such occasions? Isn’t the Flag Patrick Henry, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Nathan Hale, Gettysburg and Valley Forge, Paul Revere, Jackson and other great men and women who have given us our heritage? When you look at the Flag, can’t you see The Alamo, Corrigedor, Pearl Harbor, the Monitor and the Merrimac, Wake Island and Korea? Lest we forget, isn’t the Flag Flanders Field, Bataan, Iwo Jima, Normandy, Babe Ruth and Davy Crockett? The great events of our past and present are wrapped up in our Flag.
It is a symbol of this blessed nation, a giant in industry, education and commerce. Millions of fertile square miles, wheatlands, coal mines, steel plants. Our great republic, the chosen infant destined to be man’s last and remaining hope for suffering humanity, a shining beacon of light, noble and glorious, the haven for the oppressed and persecuted and truly God’s gift to mankind.
That’s what the Flag means to me. Can we wave it too much? I don’t think so.
S.L. DeLove Dec. 30, 1956 ( a reply of the author on the Know Your History Hour radio program, to a listener who wrote as follows: “Your programs are wonderful – especially the no commercials – but you are waving the Flag too much.”)
Thoughts on Independence Day
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
* Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died
* Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
* Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; two others had sons captured.
* Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. They paid!
WHAT KIND OF MEN WERE THEY?
* Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
* Eleven were merchants.
* Nine were farmers and large plantation owners.
All men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
* Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.
* Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him and poverty was his reward.
* Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge and Middleton.
* At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.
* Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife and she died within a few months.
* John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
* Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight and unwavering, they pledged: “For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary
Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn’t. So take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and
Remember: FREEDOM IS NEVER FREE!
War. We didn’t fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for this price they paid.
RAGGED OLD FLAG
a poem by Johnny Cash
I walked through a county courthouse square,
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, “Your old courthouse is kinda run down.”
He said, “Naw, it’ll do for our little town.”
I said, “Your flagpole has leaned a little bit,
And that’s a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it.
He said, “Have a seat”, and I sat down.
“Is this the first time you’ve been to our little town?”
I said, “I think it is.” He said, “I don’t like to brag,
But we’re kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag.”
“You see, we got a little hole in that flag there
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing “Oh Say Can You See…”
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin’ at its seams.”
“And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on through.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag.”
“On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II
She hung limp and low by the time it was through.
She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.”
“She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they’ve about quit waving her back here at home.
In her own good land she’s been abused —
She’s been burned, dishonored, denied and refused.”
“And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land.
And she’s getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she’s in good shape for the shape she’s in.
‘Cause she’s been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more.”
“So we raise her up every morning,
Take her down every night.
We don’t let her touch the ground
And we fold her up right.
On second thought I DO like to brag,
‘Cause I’m mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag.”
“A moth-eaten rag on a worm-eaten pole,
It doesn’t look likely to stir a man’s soul;
‘Tis the deeds that were done ‘neath the moth-eaten rag,
when that pole was a staff and the rag was a flag.”
– British General Sir Edward Bruce Hamley (1824-1893)
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