Happy Flag Day! On June 14, 1777 the United States Congress ratified and accepted an official Flag of the United States which had 13 original stars as symbol of the 13 Colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Although the Fourth of July is traditionally celebrated as “America’s birthday“, the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating our Flag’s Birthday is believed to have first been suggested in 1861, and eventually declared an official holiday in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. However, it took an Act of Congress to finally establish National Flag Day in August 1949.
One of the best-known stories of the advent of Flag Day comes from Waubeka, Wisconsin. In 1885 a 19-year-old school teacher named Bernard John Cigrand placed a small homespun flag inside an inkwell in his one-room schoolhouse, and asked his students to write an essay on what the flag meant to them. From that day on Cigrand dedicated himself to inspire all Americans to honor and respect the meaning and majesty of our country’s great symbol, known by many names; “Old Glory“, “The Stars and Stripes“, “The Star Spangled Banner“, and sometimes simply “OurColors” (protected by “The Color-guard“).
In 1892 writer-poet Francis Bellamy composed The Pledge of Allegiance to The United States of America, which was formally accepted by Congress in 1942. In 1954 the powerful words “under God” were added.
I pledge allegience 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,
I have always had the most tender feelings toward my country and her symbols. A powerful pride and love wells up inside of me every time I see our flag waving in the sky, or watch a color guard present the flag in a solemn ceremony prior to an audience of reverent American’s with hands over hearts reciting The Pledge, or experience the heart-breaking ceremony when a flag draped in honor across a fallen soldier’s coffin is carefully folded and presented to the grieving mother or widow.
Our Flag is sacred to me.
Today is a chance to renew my pledge of allegiance and devotion to my country, and an opportunity to offer a prayer that the Stars and Stripes may truly wave forever, over the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. May our leaders be blessed with wisdom and humility as they serve. May our citizens also be blessed with wisdom, and gratitude, and the courage to stand United “under God”.
Here are two videos you may enjoy.
The great American comedian Red Skelton’s classic presentation of The Pledge of Allegiance.
The most powerful and stirring “flag moment” of my life happened during the 2002 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony, when the flag which flew at the World Trade Center on the painfully recent Sept. 11 attack was reverently carried into the Olympic Stadium in Salt Lake City, and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed our National Anthem.