On June 14th, just a few weeks removed from Memorial Day, we will again pause to reflect the value of great Americans when we celebrate Flag Day. Although not classified as an official federal holiday, Flag Day has roots back to the early adoption of the American flag, dating back to June 14th, 1777. In 1916, the official proclamation approved establishing this date as Flag Day, and in 1949, National Flag Day was established and Congressionally approved. Since then, special celebrations are hosted each and every year in dedications to honor the American flag.
The flag, as we know it, as we see it, and as we honor it, is a distinct and cross representation of a variety of factors, starting with 13 horizontal red and white stripes. Each stripe represents the very foundation on which our nation was built, our 13 original colonies. A sharp blue rectangle with 50 crisp white five-pointed stars represents the 50 states of our current union. In its purest form, a flag is simply a nylon or polyester product. A product of various shapes, sizes, and colors. When woven together in tight knit fashion, the American flag is far from a product. It represents the core of our nation. Who can forget the vivid images of the flag raising at Ground Zero, shortly after the horrific attacks that took place back in September of 2011? How about the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima during World War II? There are countless images, and memories that remind us of the importance of an item that once started as a fabric. An item, tied together into a physical product that holds special meaning to us all.
As we pay a variety of tributes and take time to reflect during Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Armed Forces Day throughout the year, Flag Day itself holds a very distinct meaning. City blocks will be lined with American flags, along with special ceremonies to honor its true value to us all. For the veteran, the mere sight of an American flag can trigger distant memories. Memories of serving in remote and austere conditions, where the simple viewing of the flag triggered the greatest of pride. The draping of the American flag over a casket of a fallen soldier is a somber reminder that freedom continues to come at an unfortunate price. That feeling of pride and the chills when we see our city streets lined with the flag on a warm summer day has no comparison.
This summer, Flag Day will be celebrated across our nation with a host of parades, ceremonies, and special tributes. Like our other holidays, we are reminded of our past. Reminders of struggles, challenges, and loses of life. Continued reminders of the price of freedom, which offers us so much in life. Reminders of our storied history and the many great contributions and continued accomplishments of fine Americans. Great Americans continue to serve our great nation, both near and far. Every day of every week, young men and women continue to raise their right hands. They promise to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. They promise to protect the liberties and freedoms, and promise to defend our collective values. From our military personnel and veterans, to the law enforcement, fire fighters, and all those brave individuals in between, we are reminded each day of the continued resolve and hardiness of those who live and work amongst us in communities, both large and small. As Henry James once said: "I think patriotism is like charity--it begins at home." At home or abroad this June, take a moment to pause and give thanks. Stop and thank the local police or veteran in your community. When you see that American flag flapping in the wind in the skies across your community, remember all those who gave their lives for our great nation, and take comfort knowing the thousands upon thousands who continue to support and defend. Respect our greatest symbol--the American Flag!
By: Geoffrey Phillips
Mr. Phillips is an IT specialist and professional policy writer / content editor; a non-starving writer always in search of opportunities; a USAF veteran; and a devote Church Elder and family man. His passion is in the pen and the people; he absolutely loves to assist transitioning veterans, and finds himself at peace when he is doing some sort of writing.