Today is Flag Day! The day that we, in the land of the free and home of the brave, celebrate the “Stars and Stripes” as the official symbol of the United States of America. Congress authorized our flag on Saturday June 14, 1777. The entry for that day reads, “Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be Thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
The tradition of “Flag Day” actually started with a young teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin (On Wisconsin!) in 1885. As June 14th was the flags birthday, he asked his students to write an essay on what the flag meant to them and the celebration grew from there.
I love the flag. The way it waves in the wind. I like how the flag symbolizes so many things. When I see a flag flying at half-staff my first reaction is to research and quietly pay my respects to the fallen.
I love that our flag is a symbol of a country that has struggled and endured. That shows we are grand yet fallible.
I love that we live in a country that the flag symbolizes hope. Hope that while we are going through the wringer we will come out good in the end. Hope that, while we are not perfect, we do strive to do the right thing.
I love that we live in a country where we can use our flag to symbolize triumph and protest. Where we are not demanded to show our allegiance. We can choose to raise that flag and scream from the mountaintops “I am American!” Or we can choose to tuck our symbols away.
When I was at Girl Scout camp, the highest honor you could get was to be part of the flag ceremony. Either the morning ceremony to raise the flag or the evening ceremony to retire the flag. I can’t listen to taps without getting a tear in my eye. One of my most treasured memories, and most honored moments in my life, was to be part of the flag ceremony at the American Cemetery in Normandy. At 5:00 pm every day taps plays while the two flags are taken down and folded in a solemn ceremony. Andrew and I were honored to be able to take part when we were visiting in 2012.
Yes, I did get choked up when hearing Taps. I always will.