“Where did we get that flag? It was July 4th and that was the question I asked my husband as we hung the stars and stripes from the hooks on our porch.You’re probably thinking that is a strange question because nearly everyone would buy one at Wall-Mart or the hardware store. But no, this one is different, it has only 33 stars. “I think we got it years ago, at one of the Civil War reenactments we attended,” was my husband’s reply.
On June 14, 1777, Congress declared that “Old Glory” should have 13 white stars and 13 alternate red and white stripes.These represented the original 13 colonies. But then, the flag evolved from there and a new star was added each time a new state joined the Union. The stars symbolize heaven and the good men that are striving to reach there. Each stripe represents a ray of light from the sun.
As a kid in grade school, I loved the story of Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress who sewed the first American flag. Now I wonder if she even makes today’s history books, because some say there were many seamstresses in Philadelphia and we have no proof of her doing the job. Nevertheless, you may still tour the Betsy Ross house near Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Regardless of who made it, this first flag was hoisted in place, January 1, 1776, in Boston, Massachusetts at General George Washington’s headquarters.
This fourth of July, we attended a community event and couldn’t help but notice the great number of people dressed in red, white and blue. One teenager in particular wore a head band with two small flags attached. You couldn’t miss her head bobbing up and down in the crowd of people, a declaration that she was honoring our country’s flag. As I watched young people, I wondered if they realized that the set of ideals our country’s flag represents are being threatened today?
I love the giant flags used by retail outlets to draw customers. And I remember how, as a symbol of our nation’s strength and unity, many Americans flew flags from their automobile windows during the 9/11 tragedy. The “Star Spangled Banner” symbolizes our freedom, our dignity, the true meaning of being an American. As it should have been, at the 4th of July event the Philharmonic Orchestra played many songs in tribute to our country’s military, in honor of the flag and asked for God’s blessing on our country, in the song “God Bless America”.
While writing this blog post, I began to feel somewhat guilty that we were not flying an updated flag on our porch (although there are several of these elsewhere on the property). Then I began looking at it this way. Our 33 star flag brings back memories of the evolution of the flag and of a war that nearly split our country and affected our unity. The Civil War began on April 12, 1861 and was considered ended at Lee’s surrender on April 9, 1865. Our porch flag represents the year 1859 when Oregon joined the Union and the thirty-third star was added. It was under this flag that the Civil War was fought and James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln served the country.
There is much history behind the United States flag and it should bring pride and joy any where it flies. Its next star representing, Kansas, was added in 1861 but during the same year eleven states seceded from the Union. President Lincoln did not remove stars from the flag because he believed the southern states were still part of the government. However in protest, some Northerners cut eleven stars out of their personal flags. Our 50 star flag has served America the longest, since 1960, and eleven presidents have served under it.
One of the three greatest presidents served under our 33 star flag, a president whose wisdom held our country together, who successfully led his country through its greatest constitutional, military and moral crises of preserving the Union rule, ending slavery and reunifying the nation. We need a president in office now with the wisdom to direct our country in the crises it faces today so that the flag that millions of people have fought for and thousands have died for will continue to fly with dignity and honor. I’m certain you have strong feelings about this subject. I’d love to hear from you.