Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole Celebrates Flag Day - June 14th, 2004
Posted on 06/13/2004 9:18:03 PM PDT by Professional Engineer
are acknowledged, affirmed and commemorated.
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CELEBRATING OUR FLAG
Flags of the Revolution
The History of Flag Day
National flags are not merely symbols of a country. Their colors and designs convey past history and future goals. Flags have powerful connotations. They speak to the people and politicians. People of one country will burn the flag of another with whose politics they do not agree. To show their anger, students display their own nation's flags with the design altered or cut out completely. Dictators fly flags; dissidents rip them down. In every country of the world, the treatment of a flag displays an opinion or statement.
Americans take the treatment of their flag seriously and in the 20th century this has become an important issue. Included in the code of ethics are such rules as the national flag cannot be used for advertising. It cannot cover a monument or any ceilings. It must not be folded while being displayed. No one should write on an American flag. Ships can lower their flags slightly in greeting each other, but otherwise should not be dipped for any other object or person.
In the late 1960s, American students wore small flags sewn to the back of their jeans, symbolically insulting the American government and protesting its involvement in the Vietnam War. They burned the American flag in front of the Capitol Building in Washington as a statement of protest. In the early 1990s, senators suggested an amendment to the Constitution that would make this treatment of the flag illegal. The proposition was opposed because many others felt that this change would be a violation of Americans' constitutional rights to express their opinions freely.
For all the controversy it is interesting to point out that the United States did not even have a standardized flag until 1912! Called the "Stars and Stripes," or "Old Glory," the flag is one of the most complicated in the world. No other flag needs 64 pieces of fabric to make. The current flag has 13 red and white alternating stripes (representing the original 13 states) and 50 stars (each star represents one of the states of the Union) on a blue background.
The American flag has also changed designs more than any other flag in the world. The first flag, called the Grand Union, was first flown at the headquarters of the Continent Army on January 1, 1776. Betsy Ross, a' seamstress, is said to have contributed to this design.
Betsy Ross showing the United States flag to George Washington and others
She had an upholstery business which made flags for navy ships in Pennsylvania. A legend still persists that she showed George Washington how to make a five-pointed star and suggested thirteen stars in a circle for the first flag. Her descendants claimed that she offered the design. George Washington did design the Grand Union but an often-quoted remark attributed to him might not be true:
We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country, separate it by white in stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her...
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress proposed that the United States have a national flag instead of the British Union Jack. The 13 stars of the flag represented the 13 new states. There were few public ceremonies honoring the Stars and Stripes until 1877, when on, June 14, it was flown from every government building in honor of the centennial of the adoption of a national flag. Schools had unfurled American flags over their doors or outside the buildings long before this; but in 1890, North Dakota and New Jersey made a law that required their schools to fly the flag daily. The first official Flag Day was observed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1893. New York also proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day 1897. Other states were slow to follow. Some people thought that the day was too close to Memorial Day and Independence Day.
In August 1949, President Harry S. Truman proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day. Since then the President proclaims the commemoration yearly, and encourages all Americans in the country to display the Stars and Stripes outside their homes and businesses. Individual states determine how they will observe the day. In Pennsylvania and American Samoa* it is a public holiday. Usually the flag is flown from all public buildings, speeches are made in public places and ceremonies take place in towns or cities.
*In American Samoa Flag Day is celebrated on April 17th.
The Pledge of Allegiance
Elementary school children across the nation make The Pledge of Allegiance in front of the flag every weekday morning:
and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The flag flies over the U.S. Supreme Court,
where the First Amendment right to free speech
regarding the Pledge of Allegiance was upheld
"U.S. Supreme Court with Flag." Circa 1920-1950.
Washington as It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959,
Annual Pause For the Pledge of Allegiance Flag Day USA June 14, 7:00 p.m. EDT At 7:00 p.m. (EDT) on Flag Day, June 14, Americans all across the nation will pause to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag. While most of us know the words of the P!edge, there are a large number who do not know of its origin.
Mr. Francis Bellamy, an ordained minister of Rome, New York is credited with the authorship of the original Pledge. It was he, who on the eve of the 400th Anniversary of the discovery of America, initiated a campaign for the establishment of a national holiday on October 12, . . . to celebrate the day on which Columbus discovered America. In his concept, he envisioned that flags should be flown over every school-house and public building from coast to coast.
In the material which he nationally circulated, he wrote, Let the flag float over every school-house in the land and the exercise be such as shall impress upon our youth the patriotic duty of citizenship. He also included the original 23 words of the Pledge which he had developed. I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Thus it was that on Columbus Day in October 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance was repeated by more than 12 million public school children in every state in the union. The wording of the Pledge has been modified three times. In 1923, the words the flag of the United States were substituted for my flag. In 1924, of America were added. On Flag Day 1954, the words under God became a part of the Pledge. Thus the 23 words have become 31 words.
By a Joint Resolution on June 9, 1966, the Congress requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as National Flag Week and calling upon citizens of the United States to display the flag during that week.
The Star Spangled Banner
During the War of 1812 between the British and Americans, lawyer Francis Scott Key was escorting a prisoner to freedom by ship when he saw an American flag surviving a battle in Baltimore Harbor. The flag inspired him to write the poem which provides the words for the national anthem.
While making preparations for the The Battle of Baltimore Major George Armistead requested a flag "... so large that the British will have no difficulty in seeing it from a distance..." to be flown over the Fort. Mary Pickersgill of Baltimore was commissioned to construct the flag. With help from her daughter, Caroline Purdy, she sewed a woolen flag measuring 42 feet long by 30 feet high, a remarkably large flag. Shown here is a representation of that flag. There are several interesting things to note. The flag has fifteen stars and fifteen stripes. During the War of 1812 there were 15 states in the Union, Vermont and Kentucky having been added to the original 13. An early plan for the flag was to add a new star and a new stripe for each new state. With 15 stripes on the Pickersgill flag, which was 30 feet high, that meant that each stripe was 2 feet wide! On that flag each star was also 2 feet across!
The actual flag now hangs in the Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.. Today the "Star-Spangled Banner" is sung at large public gatherings such as sports events. Many television stations play the anthem before the station closes down for the night.
History of the Flag
The Stars and Stripes is the most popular name for the red, white and blue national flag of the United States. It is symbolic of our land, our people, our government and the ideals of our country. It is a stirring sight as it flutters in the wind.
The color red was selected for hardiness and courage, white for purity and innocence and blue for vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Francis Scott Key first called the U.S. flag the Star-Spangled Banner in 1814 when he wrote the poem that became our national anthem.
William Driver, a sea captain from Salem, Massachusetts, gave the name Old Glory to the flag in 1824.
The Stars and Stripes was first displayed: in a land battle on August 16,1777; on a U.S. Navy ship on November 1, 1777; in a naval battle in the Pacific on March 25, 1813; in Antarctica in 1840; at the North Pole on April 6, 1909; and on the moon on July 20, 1969.
The Flag Changes Through History
Our country's first flag was used during the Revolutionary War from 1775 to 17 It was called the Continental Colors and represented all 13 colonies.
On June 14,1777, following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress empowered the creation of the first official flag. It consisted of 13 alternating red and white stripes a 13 white stars on a field of blue.
Two new states had joined the Union 1794, and five more by 1817. On April 1818, Congress approved using 13 stripes again and adding a new star on July 4th after a new state that had joined the Union.
The flag's 48 stars were fixed in 1912. It remained that way until 1959 when the 49th star was added for Alaska and the 50th for Hawaii in 1960.
The first flag of the colonists to have any resemblance to the present Stars and Stripes was the Grand Union Flag, sometimes referred to as the Congress Colors, the First Navy Ensign, and the Cambridge Flag.
Its design consisted of 13 stripes, alternately red and white, representing the Thirteen Colonies, with a blue field in the upper left-hand corner bearing the red cross of St. George of England with the white cross of St. Andrew of Scotland.
As the flag of the revolution it was used on many occasions. It was first flown by the ships of the Colonial Fleet on the Delaware River. On December 3, 1775, it was raised aboard Captain Esek Hopkin's flagship Alfred by John Paul Jones, then a Navy lieutenant. Later the flag was raised on the liberty pole at Prospect Hill, which was near George Washington's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was our unofficial national flag on July 4, 1776, Independence Day; and it remained the unofficial national flag and ensign of the Navy until June 14, 1777, when the Continental Congress authorized the Stars and Stripes.
Interestingly, the Grand Union Flag also was the standard of the British East India Company. It was only by degrees that the Union Flag of Great Britain was discarded. The final breach between the Colonies and Great Britain brought about the removal of the British Union from the canton of our striped flag and the substitution of stars on a blue field.
Meaning of the Folds of
The American Flag
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.
The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."
The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we 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.
The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered in to the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on mother's day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, "In God we Trust."
Story by Leo K. Thorness
You've probably seen the bumper sticker. It depicts an American flag, accompanied by the words "These colors don't run."
I'm always glad to see this, because it reminds me of an incident from my confinement in North Vietnam at the Hao Lo prisoner of war camp, or the "Hanoi Hilton," as it became known.
Then a major in the U.S. Air Force, I had been captured and was imprisoned from 1967 to 1973. Our treatment had frequently been brutal.
After three years, however, the beatings and torture became less frequent. During the last year, we were allowed outside most days for a couple of minutes to bathe. We showered by drawing water from a concrete tank with a homemade bucket.
One day as we all stood by the tank, stripped of our clothes, a young Navy pilot named Mike Christian found the remnants of a handkerchief in a gutter that ran under the prison wall.
Mike managed to sneak the grimy rag into our cell and began fashioning it into a flag.
Over time we all loaned him a little soap, and he spent days cleaning the material. We helped by scrounging and stealing bits and pieces of anything he could use.
At night, under his mosquito net, Mike worked on the flag. He made red and blue from ground-up roof tiles and tiny amounts of ink, and painted the colors onto the cloth with watery rice glue. Using thread from his own blanket and a homemade bamboo needle, he sewed on stars.
Early in the morning a few days later, when the guards were not alert, he whispered loudly from the back of our cell, "Hey gang, look here."
He proudly held up this tattered piece of cloth, waving it as if in a breeze. If you used your imagination, you could tell it was supposed to be an American flag.
When he raised that smudgy fabric, we automatically stood straight and saluted, our chests puffing out, and more than a few eyes had tears.
About once a week the guards would strip us, run us outside and go through our clothing. During one of those shakedowns, they found Mike's flag. We all knew what would happen.
That night they came for him. They opened the cell door and pulled Mike out. We could hear the beginning of the torture before they even had him in the torture cell. They beat him most of the night.
About daylight they pushed what was left of him back through the cell door. He was badly broken. Even his voice was gone.
Within two weeks, despite the danger, Mike scrounged another piece of cloth and began another flag.
The Stars and Stripes, our national symbol, was worth the sacrifice to him.
Now, whenever I see the flag, I think of Mike and the morning he first waved that tattered emblem of a nation. It was then, thousands of miles from home, in a lonely prison cell, that he showed us what it is to be truly free.
The flag on the moon represents an important event in vexillological history. This paper examines the political and technical aspects of placing a flag on the moon, focusing on the first moon landing. During their historic extravehicular activity (EVA), the Apollo 11 crew planted the flag of the United States on the lunar surface. This flag-raising was strictly a symbolic activity, as the United Nations Treaty on Outer Space precluded any territorial claim. Nevertheless, there were domestic and international debates over the appropriateness of the event. Congress amended the agency's appropriations bill to prevent the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from placing flags of other nations, or those of international associations, on the moon during missions funded solely by the United States. Like any activity in space exploration, the Apollo flag-raising also provided NASA engineers with an interesting technical challenge. They designed a flagpole with a horizontal bar allowing the flag to "fly" without the benefit of wind to overcome the effects of the moon's lack of an atmosphere. Other factors considered in the design were weight, heat resistance, and ease of assembly by astronauts whose space suits restricted their range of movement and ability to grasp items. As NASA plans a return to the moon and an expedition to Mars, we will likely see flags continue to go "where no flag has gone before."
Great post today we will always be greatful and love this great country,the men & women that have died to gives us this right deserve more than we can give.
I was once told that flags with the gold fringes around them are not true US flags representing the USA. I'm not too sure whether it's true or not.
FRINGE ON THE AMERICAN FLAG
Gold fringe is used on the National flag as an honorable enrichment only. It is not regarded as an integral part of the flag and its use does not constitute an unauthorized addition to the design prescribed by statutes.
Records of the Department of the Army indicate that fringe was used on the National flag as early as 1835 and its official use by the Army dates from 1895. There is no record of an Act of Congress or Executive Order which either prescribes or prohibits the addition of fringe, nor is there any indication that any symbolism was ever associated with it. The use of fringe is optional with the person or organization displaying the flag.
A 1925 Attorney Generals Opinion (34 Op. Atty. Gen 483) states:
"The fringe does not appear to be regarded as an integral part of the flag, and its presence cannot be said to constitute an unauthorized additional to the design prescribed by statute. An external fringe is to be distinguished from letters, words, or emblematic designs printed or superimposed upon the body of the flag itself. Under the law, such additions might be open to objection as unauthorized; but the same is not necessarily true of the fringe."
It is customary to place gold fringe on silken (rayon-silk-nylon) National flags that are carried in parades, used in official ceremonies, and displayed in offices, merely to enhance the beauty of the flag. The use of fringe is not restricted to the Federal Government. Such flags are used and displayed by our Armed Forces, veterans, civic and civilian organizations, and private individuals. However, it is the custom not to use fringe on flags displayed from stationary flagpoles and, traditionally, fringe has not been used on internment flags.
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi guarantees a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."
Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal
The flag of our nation is described and specified at law.1 Yet today more than one flag is in use in the United States-one is red, white and blue, and the other is red, white, blue and GOLD.
In our history the national flag changed a number of times. On June 15, 1775, the Continental Congress appointed General Washington to take "supreme command of the forces raised, and to be raised, in the defense of American liberty." A battle flag for this force was subsequently displayed on the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in July 1777. A resolution passed by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777 (Flag Day) describes the official national Flag for the United States of America.
It had thirteen stripes and stars.2 A Flag with fifteen stripes and stars, known as the 1795 Fort McHenry flag, was authorized by an Act of Congress and was flown during the War of 1812. This flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner." In March 1818 an Act of Congress returned the Flag to thirteen stripes with 20 stars and ordered the addition of one star for each new State, to take effect the 4th day of July following the admission of that State.
A gold fringed flag is a battle flag reserved to the General of the Army for use over military headquarters and to display at courts-martial. The Commander-In-Chief, as the civilian authority over a lawfully standing national militia or Army, may designate that flag's use elsewhere. This gives a president, when acting as Commander-In-Chief, power to place the government's battle flag wherever he wishes to establish jurisdiction of the military force.
In 1925, an interpretation of statute law by the Attorney General of the United States clarified the intent and purpose of gold fringes or adornments to the national Flag to be within the discretion of the president as Commander-In-Chief. "Placing of fringe on national flag, dimensions of flag, and arrangement of stars in the union are matters of detail not controlled by statute, but are within the discretion of President as Commander- In-Chief of Army and Navy." 3 Thus, a gold fringed flag, often seen upon a staff or flagpole with a gold eagle atop it, or with gold streamers or tassels, is NOT the lawful, or OFFICIAL, Flag of our Nation.
A gold fringed flag used widely by courts, schools, service organizations and private individuals is NOT a symbol of our constitutional republic, or national Union of States. It signifies a military jurisdictional presence.
One official difference between the two flags is that when the fringe is placed around the Flag it denotes a military battle flag, not a national Flag. Now the lawful status of a Citizen becomes important. For in a military jurisdiction, where the court-martial tribunal displays the fringed battle flag, it may impose criminal sanctions for issues involving contracts, without due process of law. In a Judicial Department court under the national Flag, as described in the Constitution for the United States of America, as well as in State Constitutions, due process must be observed and followed, with all the protection of Constitutional Law.
The Founding Fathers, through the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, secured the sovereignty of the States for WE THE PEOPLE. A flag of bordered design, like the fringed battle flag, denotes that the jurisdiction of the federal government is present. If the courtrooms in your State display gold fringed flags, who is exercising jurisdiction?
J. Krim Bohren
Hi Sailor. :-)
Thanks for the etiquette on raising the flag briskly.
One of my pet peeves and I saw a lot of it this past week was people mis-using the term half-mast for half-staff. As I know it, on land it is half-staff on ships it is half-mast.
Hi Diver Dave.
Like the poem, your work?
Thanks Gator Navy.
I've seen the flag raised and lowered to Half staff improperly at schools a few times.
I've seen this opinion too Sam. It appears to be an opinion held by some militia's and not actually true. I have the legal definition posted. The Gold Fringed flag was used at Reagan's funeral and I doubt we'd do that if it in anyway violated our flag.
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