What Does Flag Day Mean for Us in 2014?
Why do we celebrate flag day? Under President Truman, Congress established National Flag Day. It is, for the most part, a forgotten holiday. Children don’t “pledge allegiance to the flag” anymore. Do adults, besides veterans or active duty military, even partake in this activity?
Can the American flag contribute to a felt sense of American identity? As we celebrate Flag Day on June 14, we should reflect on the importance of “The Stars and Stripes.” The dominant symbol of the United States, as with every nation, is its national flag. Our flag is flown high above public buildings, private establishments, embassies abroad, ships at sea, and laid to rest with the individuals who defend it abroad and at home. The flag fluctuates with the United States’ emotional state; when we are proud, it rises high and when the nation mourns, we lower it to mark death. The flag, the subject of our national anthem and “the Republic for which it stands,” is the object of our Pledge of Allegiance; and, in its very composition, symbolically reflects the idea and ideal of E Pluribus Unum (“Out of many, one”), as well as something of our national history.
Through all the turmoil and changes of our country, our flag has stood as a symbol of freedom and strength. This Saturday will mark the 237th birthday of the flag of the United States – the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, the Star-Spangled Banner.
But this year’s observance will be special, as it is the bicentennial of the Francis Scott Key poem “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which became our national anthem.
Although, Key didn’t write the poem on June 14. He visited Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD, on Sept. 14, 1814. Flag Day itself is celebrated on the anniversary of the day in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress voted to adopt a flag of the United States.
Learn about the history of our flag. Read President Obama’s presidential proclamation regarding flag day and national flag week. “For more than two centuries, Americans have saluted Old Glory in times of trial and triumph. Generations have looked to it as they steeled their resolve, and an unbroken chain of men and women in uniform has served under our flag. From the banks of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to European trenches and Pacific islands, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, they have risked their lives so we might live ours. When we lay our veterans to rest, many go draped with the stars and stripes upon them, and their families find solace in the folds of honor held tightly to their chest. Because of their sacrifice, our Nation is stronger, safer, and will always remain a shining beacon of freedom for the rest of the world.” As our nation prepares to meet the great tests of our age, let every American draw inspiration from this symbol of our past, our present, and our common dreams.
By Rachel A. Adler
Online Learning Tips Contributor