Tak­ing a mo­ment to honor Old Glory

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

For some, it’s a sym­bol of what count­less mil­lions of brave souls have fought and died for, and con­tinue to de­fend. For some, it’s a re­minder of what Amer­ica is and could be in the fu­ture. But un­ques­tion­ably, it is an icon rep­re­sent­ing free­dom and democ­racy.

That icon is Old Glory, the Amer­i­can flag. And while to­day, Flag Day, isn’t a na­tional hol­i­day, it is a day wor­thy of our at­ten­tion and re­spect for this most rec­og­niz­able of our na­tion’s sym­bols.

Mem­bers of the Amer­i­can Le­gion Post in La Plata will hold a flag re­tire­ment cer­e­mony and demon­strate the dig­ni­fied and proper method of dis­pos­ing of worn, torn or tat­tered flags at 3 p.m. to­day at the post’s memo­rial.

How this day came to be Flag Day is, of course, steeped in Amer­i­can his­tory. On this day in 1777, dur­ing the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion, the Con­ti­nen­tal Congress adopted a res­o­lu­tion stat­ing that the flag have 13 al­ter­nat­ing stripes of red and white, with 13 stars on a blue field.

The na­tional flag, which be­came known as the “Stars and Stripes,” was based on the “Grand Union” flag, a ban­ner car­ried by the Con­ti­nen­tal Army a year be­fore.

Af­ter the new na­tion won the war, stripes as well as stars were added with the en­trance of new states into the Union. But be­fore that flag got too busy, Congress en­acted a law stip­u­lat­ing that the 13 orig­i­nal stripes be re­stored and that only stars be added to rep­re­sent new states.

On June 14, 1877, the first Flag Day ob­ser­vance was held on the 100th an­niver­sary of the adop­tion of the Amer­i­can flag. As in­structed by Congress, the U.S. flag was flown from all pub­lic build­ings across the coun­try. In the years af­ter that first Flag Day, sev­eral states con­tin­ued to ob­serve the an­niver­sary, but fed­er­ally it was of­fi­cially es­tab­lished by a procla­ma­tion from Pres­i­dent Woodrow Wil­son on May 30, 1916.

Then, in 1949, Congress des­ig­nated June 14 as a na­tional day of ob­ser­vance. At that time, un­der Pres­i­dent Harry Tru­man, the flag had 48 stars. A decade later, with the ad­di­tion of Alaska and Hawaii, the flag was changed again to its present-day de­sign of 50 stars and 13 stripes.

And that’s the ver­sion of the flag we’ll be hon­or­ing this af­ter­noon in La Plata. For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact the post at 301-934-8221.

So take a mo­ment to­day, even if you don’t at­tend the cer­e­mony, to think about Old Glory and all it rep­re­sents.

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