Amid unrest, division, and heartache, there are very few things that stay the same. When watching the news, it’s easy to see how quickly things can change or escalate in our country named America. But on Sunday, June 14th, our nation is celebrating a symbol adorned in red, white, and blue – the American flag.
Flag Day is a day very few people take into consideration, or at least I didn’t. Before doing some digging, I thought the day was something used to fill a space on my desk calendar. But alas, it is so much more than that. Since 1777, our flag has been a constant reminder of the freedom we have. On Sunday, our nation continues to recognize the importance of this symbol and all it stands for.
And this is important because even Old Glory has a story of her own.
When many think about the creation of the flag, their minds jump to Betsy Ross. I knew what the Stars and Stripes stood for. But other than that, I didn’t know anything else about the flag...other than Betsy Ross. So, it came as a surprise to me when I found that there is no historical evidence that states Ms. Ross sewed the flag. However, other records show how the flag’s idea came about and its significance in American history.
The flags beginnings didn’t start with the appearance we know and love today; instead, it was a flag alternating between red and white with a Union Jack in the corner. According to History, it was named the “Continental Colors” and was a sign of unity for those fighting for independence. However, General Washington decided that it wasn’t a great idea to have a flag that looked similar to that of their enemies, so a call for a change was requested.
In 1777, the Second Continental Congress decided that the United States flag would contain “13 stripes, alternate red and white.” Meanwhile, the Union’s flag would have “13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” And with that, Old Glory was born.
After finalizing the colors and shapes, General Washington allegedly made a personal visit to Betsy Ross. Supposedly, he and his army shared the flag idea with her and asked for her to create the first flag for the new nation. But, as mentioned before, no evidence proves this story to be true.
In 1814, the beautiful flag-inspired poem that we know as the “Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key was penned. After surviving an all-night attack, Key was amazed to see “dawn’s early light,” and in it, he caught a glimpse of the American flag flying proclaiming victory over the British.
Through all of its weaving and winding history, the American flag still stands. It’s seen battlefields, war zones, and front porch posts. It’s held firm through the test of time, even to those who disrespect what it’s gone through. And at the end of the day, it would still wave as a sign of our independence, freedom, and hope that tomorrow will be better. But more important than an American symbol, the flag stands as a beacon for our nation that is “under God.”
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson established that June 14th would be known as Flag Day. And on this day, many would remember the anniversary of the stars and stripes. But on June 14th, 1954, President Eisenhower signed an order that added “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.
With a simple pen stroke, our nation’s leader at the time, President Eisenhower acknowledged that our country is under the rule and guidance of the one true God. And, just as the flag, that phrase remains a part of the Pledge. For over 50 years, everyone who has and will say the Pledge of Allegiance notes that our nation is under the rule of the ultimate authority figure. And even with all that is going on in the world during 2020, He is still on the throne and He still helps in a present time of need, even though we don’t deserve it.
On this Flag Day, I hope you’ll notice how the American flag has seen war after war and battle after battle. It has been trampled, weathered, disrespected, and the beautiful red and white striped flag still stands. It still waves. It waves for "one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance,” Psalm 33:12.