Let the red, white and blue never cease to wave
Today is Flag Day. Our fine nation should be awash in red, white and blue. That is because Flag Day deserves the respect of each and every one of us. Flag Day doesn’t carry the same holiday day off/let’s golf, barbecue, hit the swimming pool and party reputation that its summertime counterparts like Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day do. But as free American citizens we should all pause today and acknowledge the significance that our flag represents.
Ten of thousands of American have fought for and sacrificed — some with their very lives — to preserve the American way of freedom and democracy. Our flag represents fairness to all of its citizens. It represents opportunities for all of its citizens. Ask someone in a communist or suppressed third world country if they would embrace a flag day that represents the kind of personal liberties and choices that we have. And, sadly, take for granted so often it seems by so many Americans. If you are in a need of a strong dose of humility, just go visit a local cemetery where hundreds of flags have been placed since Memorial Day on the graves of veterans.
Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States. That happened on June 14 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation officially establishing June 14 as Flag Day. That was in 1916. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday but should be treated like one. Pennsylvania became the first and only state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday. Ohioans and the good citizens in our own area will certainly have their flags out today on what promises to be a fine weather day to serve as a backdrop. If you have a flag, make sure it is out and properly displayed, especially on this day. The rest of us should appreciate those who take time and expense to fly the flag.
Old Glory is a nickname for the flag of the United States. A check of history reveals that the original “Old Glory” was a flag owned by the 19th century American sea captain William Driver (1803 – 1886). He flew the flag during at sea and later brought it to Nashville, Tennessee, where he settled. He treasured the flag and ensured its safety from the Confederates, who attempted to seize the flag during the Civil War. After the war, Driver’s daughter and niece feuded over which of them owned the original Old Glory — apparently there were two of them. In 1922, both flags claimed to be the original “Old Glory” became part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution, where they remain at the National Museum of American History.
Each year the Salem News presents a special edition commemorating Flag Day. We are glad to do this. We thank those businesses supporting the special edition. Read through your copy and share it too — perhaps with your children or grandchildren. They are a next red, white and blue generation of American patriots.
Our flag represents so much that makes up the very fabric of our American way. Foremost is our democratic nation with the individual freedoms it represents. Never forget that. Especially on this special day. Let’s all give a heartfelt salute to Old Glory. Let it never cease to wave.