“We’re kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag…” Johnny Cash
Every country has a flag, some are older, some more expressive than others, but I’d venture to say every country shows pride in their nationality by the flag they fly.
Canada’s flag is simple, yet most who see it, know its Canada’s flag, as the Maple Leaf has been a symbol of Canada since the mid 1700’s. The first flag to fly in Canada however was St. George’s Cross when John Cabot landed in Newfoundland in 1497. Later, Jacque Cartier landed at Gaspe, flying the French Naval flag. Since the mid 1800’s, the flag used officially for Canada, and her military was the Red Ensign flag which also bore the Canadian Coat of Arms. The Red and White Maple Leaf flag was officially adopted in 1965 to replace the Union flag of Great Britain.
Great Britain’s flag, commonly known as the Union Jack, combines the crosses of the countries united under one Sovereign – the kingdoms of England and Wales, of Scotland and of Ireland (Northern Ireland). It combines the crosses of Britain’s patron Saint, St George, Scotland’s St. Andrew which was added in 1606 and the cross of St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland which was added after the Act of Union of Ireland with England (and Wales) and Scotland on 1 January 1801. The Union Flag which was originally a Royal flag has been flown ever since.
France’s flag is tri colored Blue, White and Red and dates back to 1789 before it was adopted by the French National Convention as France’s official flag in 1794. From 1564, the French flag bore three gold fleurs-de-lis on a blue background. In 1604, the field of the French flag was changed from blue to white.
During the early part of the French Revolution, three colors were brought together and in 1789, a militia was formed and its flag was made up of the ancient colors of Paris, blue and red. Louis XVI came to Paris to recognize the new National Guard, and white being the symbol of royalty, was added making the tri colored flag. The constitution of 1946 and 1958 instituted the “blue, white and red” flag as the national emblem of the Republic of France.
Spain’s Flag consists of three horizontal stripes with red on top and bottom, gold in the center with the coat of arms of Spain, featuring the Royal Crown. Historically Spain was divided into many kingdoms, which had their own flags or emblems which are now represented on Spain’s national flag. With the Spanish Constitution in 1978, the current flag of Spain was designated the official national flag.
Mexico’s flag is made up of three colors and an eagle emblem. Some say Green represents hope and victory, White for the purity of ideals and Red for the blood of their national heroes. Others believe Green is for independence, White for Roman Catholicism and Red for Union. There have been revisions to the flag with the last being in 1995 with the passing of the modifications of the Flag law which was issued in 1995. The Flag is most prominently flown on Mexico’s Flag Day of on February 24th and also on their Independence Day, September 16th.
United States’ flag has been the symbol of America’s unity, strength, pride and inspiration for 200 years. In 1776 General George Washington ordered the Grand Union flag hoisted above his base at Prospect Hill where the Americans were laying siege against the British. That flag had 13 alternate red and white stripes and the British Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner. Later that year, Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag, and on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act: “Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”
Between 1777 and 1960, Congress passed acts that changed the arrangement of the flag and allowed for additional stars and stripes to be added to represent the admission of each new state. In 1959 an executive order by President Dwight Eisenhower allowed for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.
Today our flag has thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with 6 white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies; the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.
Our Flag has been written about and is the subject of our National Anthem, as Francis Scott Key penned his poem during his night vigil in the harbor watching the British bombard Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Except for the number of stripes and position and number of stars, the flag has been the same basic style since its inception. The flag has always represented independence and the faith, loyalty, bravery and spirit of the patriots which have made America great and free. Our flag has always been a symbol of freedom for millions around the world.
Our flag has been battered, tattered, stepped on and burned- all in the name of freedom, paid in blood and sacrifice by those who have fought and still fight to defend our freedoms. Our flag, the Stars and Bars have been bought with the priceless cost of those who have, and still fight and die for it.
In times of peril, Old Glory has been known to fly upside down as it’s supposed to only when the country or life is in severe distress. People have flown it upside down to protest the government, more so in the past few years as they see our nation in more distress and danger than ever before.
It seems that not only our country is in peril from within and without, as our federal and some state governments continues to ignore the Constitution, but our flag is being stripped of everything it has flown for over the past 200 years.
As a newer citizen, I never believed I’d see the day when Americans sat back and allowed the flag to be pulled down, abused and given the back seat by other nations’ flags or censured at schools across the country. I never thought I’d see it disrespected and defaced by using it in such a blatantly politicized way for a campaign or from people worshiping a politician.
This is not only about recent events such as the latest ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court to allow the Morgan Hill Unified School District to censure students’ rights by ordering kids wearing shirts which feature the American Flag to either turn them inside out or send them home. All because of threats of violence and because of Cinco de Mayo celebrations by Hispanics, our kids are denied their rights, and our Flag is considered offensive.
9th Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote, “Our role is not to second-guess the decision to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration or the precautions put in place to avoid violence… (The past events) made it reasonable for school officials to proceed as though the threat of a potentially violent disturbance was real.”
Have any of these people considered instead of ordering American pride and our Flag be shoved aside, to forget having a Mexican holiday celebration? Oh I know, I can hear the outrage now. I’m not going to apologize for thinking that if some can’t keep their anger under control or find their feelings hurt, then that’s not the fault of kids who want to show their American pride. People claim that these kids are only trying to provoke a response by displaying flags or wearing these shirts on the day that Hispanics celebrate a Mexican holiday. The point is, we are in the United States, we are not in Mexico, and American kids should be allowed to wear clothing if it respects our flag and our country without being threatened with violence, detention or suspension. Those who fought for our country, our Flag, gave these kids the right to wear clothing which respectfully displays the flag.
Speaking of those who have fought, how many times have we read stories where our Veterans have had to remove their flags take down their flags, their flagpole or hide their flags, and not to mention other flags honoring veterans and troops, and even crosses from their memorials. Thankfully some of these cases were over turned, but the fact remains that too many times, those who have personally paid for our freedoms are being stripped of theirs. This is America, and this kind of behavior should be unacceptable.
John Adams once said, “[America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is in the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is FREEDOM, INDEPENDENCE, PEACE. This has been her Declaration; this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.”
Other nations have laws punishable by prison for disrespecting their flags. America has pride in our Flag because of the freedom it represents- even the freedom to be ungrateful. Our Founding Fathers guaranteed our God given freedoms by embedding them in the Constitution, but when will people start respecting and honoring those who have fought to keep our freedoms? When are more Americans going to start appreciating what we have been given and stop bending over to those who don’t hold any allegiance or honor for our Country?
America’s Glory is our Liberty which has been bought and paid for by tears, blood and lives. Please people, start acting like it.