Flags

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On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress approved the design of the original American flag, declaring: “Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

On Aug. 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman officially declared June 14 as Flag Day.

 

I almost cut my hair

It happened just the other day

It was gettin’ kinda long

I could-a said, it was in my way

But I didn’t and I wonder why

I feel like letting my freak flag fly

And I feel like I owe it to someone

     – David Crosby

I bet you didn’t know it was Flag Day today. It might have escaped your attention since it is not a national holiday. However, if you live in Pennsylvania you might be more inclined to know about Flag Day because it apparently is a state holiday there. I only know it because it popped up automatically on my Apple calendar and I made a mental note of it because I like to fly my American flag when I have an official reason to do so. I know that’s pretty silly since no one would stop me from flying my flag whenever I wanted, including every day of the year. But for some reason, I like to have grounds for flying the flag. I’m also typically forgetting to put it out on official days like national holidays and only remembering late in the day when it’s too late to bother.

(National Flag of Canada Day was instituted in 1996 as February 15. Probably a good day to fly a colorful flag in Canada since it’s probably a pretty dreary day otherwise, but I like June 14. Summer makes more sense to me for flag flying.)

By the way, I just found out that Flag Day is part of Flag Week, so if you want, you could “officially” fly the flag all week. It’s just that I’ve been up and down my street and I’m beginning to think I’m the only guy who knows about this.

So I’m writing about it because I‘m trying to find out why I like flags so much, and why I like to have a reason to fly one. Flags are festive, colorful, historical, and infused with meaning, but I think, most of all, they have to do with identity. A flag says something about who we are, where we belong, and what we’re committed to.

“The American flag represents all of us and all the values we hold sacred.” — Adrian Cronauer — former United States Air Force sergeant and radio personality whose experiences as an innovative disc jockey in Vietnam inspired the 1987 film Good Morning, Vietnam (starring Robin Williams as Cronauer).

And I would say the most important of those values is probably freedom, including freedom of religion which includes all religions and none. Freedom is what makes this country great and what so many have fought and died for. As long as you include freedom to disagree, freedom to be different, freedom to worship, freedom to speak your mind, freedom to let your freak flag fly — everything short of freedom to break the law. Well, I guess you are free to do that, except that you will most likely get caught and have to pay the consequences because of a legal system that upholds law and justice. No, not perfectly, but as far as this world goes, about as close to it for a country as you can get.

So love God, and fly that flag — two distinctly different things, but we celebrate the second one because it represents freedom to publicly engage in the first one.

“It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.”

      – President Donald Trump

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