How do you feel about flags? Part of me fills with pride when I see the stars and stripes unfurl. My own flag pole is empty right now because of a bad rope and clips. I really want to get it fixed. I’ve got to say that the cross is for me the most powerful symbol and it rises over all nations with love, grace, and forgiveness – even for my enemies. But on this day in 1777 the U.S. flag, the Stars and Stripes, was flown in battle for the first time, during a Revolutionary War battle in Delaware. General William Maxwell ordered the “Stars and Stripes” banner raised as part of his infantry and cavalry met a group of British and Hessian troops. Even though the rebels were defeated and were forced to retreat they were able to join General George Washington’s main force.
Just three months earlier, on June 14, the Continental Congress had adopted a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag, which became known as the Stars and Stripes. Many a child grew up in the U.S. being taught that Betsy Ross designed the new flag at the request of General George Washington. Even though there are doubts about that, I still believe it.
If you were to make a flag for yourself what would it be? What would you put on it? If it could symbolize what you stood for how would you design it? I’ve always liked Canada’s flag. It’s simple and to the point – a maple leaf. I’m going to spend a few minutes thinking about this later today. Maybe mine would just have a pen – the pen is mightier than the sword, you know.
These symbols bring all kinds of reactions. Andy Rooney, of “60 Minutes” fame, once pointed out, “Devout Christians often wear the crucifix as jewelry. For example, I spotted a $7,500 diamond encrusted cross at a New York jewelry store. What happened to that camel that has such an easy time passing through the eyes of needles? It seems wrong to me to turn this cruel symbol of one of the most barbaric acts in history into a decorative bauble. Unlike religious icons, the American flag is one of the best, most meaningful patriotic symbols the world has ever known. But I like to see the flag flying high atop the flagpole, not on the lapels of expensive clothing or on the bumpers of taxicabs. Both of those displays suggest that people are claiming to be more patriotic than the next guy.”
Rooney was permanently grumpy but he has a point. I love my country and I love the flag which first flew on this day in 1777 but I won’t wear it on my lapel – it’s bigger than me. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t. It’s your right and that is why I love this country.
PS. Yesterday I celebrated my 500th post. Thanks to everyone who follows and reads these musings. If you like them share them and tell your friends to join in the conversation.