This Independence Day occurred amid protests and pandemic, but all over the nation, people flew their flags proudly. Despite the turmoil our society has experienced over the past few months, many Americans were unwavering in their loyalty to Old Glory. Some may say she is just a flag, but this is a short-sided sentiment that ignores history and the flag’s important role across the nation.
History of the Flag
George Washington recognized the importance of a flag as soon as his Continental Army seized power during the Revolutionary War. America did not have an official flag per se, so he ordered his men to fly the Grand Union flag. Some consider this flag to be America’s first flag. It had 13 stripes to represent the colonies, but it also had Great Britain’s flag in the corner where 50 stars are today.
It didn’t take long for an original flag to be conceived. In 1777, Congress determined that the new flag should keep its 13 stripes, but Britain’s flag in the corner would be replaced with 13 stars representing the colonies. Over the next decades and centuries, the flag was altered to represent its increasing number of states until it reached what it is today.
Many people believe that it was Betsy Ross who made the first American flag, but this story cannot be confirmed. She was a seamstress, and it is possible that George Washington went to her to make flags. She definitely made flags at later dates. The Betsy Ross version of history is often considered folklore, but a history of the U.S. flag would be incomplete without its mention.
The Importance of the Flag
The reason George Washington immediately had a flag raised in the newly seized territory is that he understood the importance of the flag. Throughout history, people have united under their flags as members of an identifiable group. The flag solidifies the truth of the group’s existence and gives it power as a result. Washington knew that one of the first steps in creating an independent nation was to give it a flag.
People fight for their flags
This is in a metaphorical sense somewhat, but the flag symbolizes that metaphor in a tangible fashion. It gives people something to show their patriotism and connects them to their country. Desecration of the flag is an attack on the entire institution, although it is also a protected form of free speech. Fly the flag proudly, and it is a
declaration of solidarity. The flag is a way to symbolically keep people together despite political, cultural, or demographic differences. When we sing our National Anthem, we sing to our flag. When we accomplish something great, like landing on the moon, we deploy our flag. And when we suffer such as we did on
September 11th, 2001, we come back stronger under our stripes and stars.
Why Fly a Flag at Your House?
Getting out the flag on the 4th of July or any other day of the year is a tribute to all Americans. It is a thank you to those who have died for our freedom, and it is a celebration of our Constitution and our individual rights. It is also a reminder that despite our differences as individuals, we all have one thing in common. Due to current social unrest and fears surrounding the pandemic, flying the flag is also a return to some form of normalcy. It is reminiscent of backyard barbecues, summer fun, and the stereotyped all-American life. It gives us back that feeling that everything is going to be okay because we are all one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.