Our flag is a unique symbol of who we are as a nation

Date: 6/13/2024
Have you ever found yourself truly moved when singing or listening to a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner? By “truly moved,” I am speaking about a tear in your eye, a lump in your throat and a great sense of pride in just being an American. When you hear the phrase, “land of the free and the home of the brave,” does it not cause you to consider how fortunate we are that we live under a flag that symbolizes all the great sacrifices made by so many who came before us, so that we could enjoy the freedoms that so many in this world will never enjoy? When we hear the words to the Star Spangled Banner, and we place our hand across our hearts and stare up at Old Glory as she is being raised up, should we not feel it is our duty and responsibility as Americans to honor that flag as the symbol of the liberty we enjoy, or are some of us just going through the motions without really comprehending the meaning or the moment?

We will have an opportunity on Friday, June 14 to demonstrate our appreciation of our flag. On that day we will celebrate Flag Day to commemorate that day in June 1777 when the United States approved the design for its first flag. Prior to the adoption of the “stars and stripes,” each state had their own flag, but when we became the United States, our country’s founders saw the need for one flag that would represent our status from a collection of states, to one nation. While we still find our national symbol with thirteen stripes signifying the thirteen original colonies, we have seen stars added for each state as we grew as a country. Our current flag was the design of a Lancaster Ohio student by the name of Bob G. Heft, who submitted a design that included the original thirteen stripes, and the addition of Alaska and Hawaii as our 49th and 50th states. Bob’s design was unique, since he completed his design in 1958 when we only had 48 states. He stated that he anticipated the addition of Alaska and Hawaii, which occurred in 1959, a year after he submitted his design.

I am a firm believer in the power of words and the power of symbols, and our flag is a unique symbol of who we are as a nation. Watching the flag being raised reminds me of words spoken by President John F. Kennedy from his 1960 Inaugural Address. In the address he stated, “The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it, and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.” These words are as meaningful today as they were 64 years ago when they were first spoken, and our flag will always represent “the energy, the faith, the devotion” which will always “light our world.” Happy Flag Day!