Leading up to Flag Day today, we devoted a considerable amount of space in our Sunday Perspective section to the state of the Stars and Stripes across the Valley. Photographer Darryl Webb’s images displayed some flags in dreadful disrepair.
As columnist Slim Smith pointed out, “most businesses leave their flags up 24/7, which means the flag is not subject to daily inspection. It becomes a case of seeing the flag without really seeing it.”
That appears to be an accurate and unfortunate reality. The American flag is the physical embodiment of our nation. It represents who we are as a people, the freedoms we enjoy and the men and women who have fought and sometimes died to protect our way of life and ideals. We are hopeful that today residents and businesses will display Old Glory proudly and properly — and in numbers so great that no one will miss seeing it.
HISTORY OF FLAG DAY
• B.J. Cigrand, a Wisconsin schoolteacher, is credited with hatching the idea for an annual day celebrating the flag in 1885.
• Flag Day, marking the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777, was established May 30, 1916, by President Woodrow Wilson. The day was recognized by some communities across the nation after Wilson’s decree, but on Aug. 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day. Source: www.usflag.org
The Federal Flag Code, which details proper display and retirement of the American flag, can be found at www.bcpl.net/~etowner/flagcode.html.
‘THE AMERICAN FLAG’
Following are excerpts from the poem by Joseph Rodman Drake (1795-1820), an American poet and satirist:
When Freedom, from her mountain height, Unfurled her standard to the air, She tore the azure robe of night, And set the stars of glory there! She mingled with its gorgeous dyes The milky baldric of the skies, And striped its pure celestial white With streakings of the morning light, Then, from his mansion in the sun, She called her eagle-bearer down, And gave into his mighty hand The symbol of her chosen land!
Flag of the seas! on ocean’s wave Thy star shall glitter o’er the brave; When Death, careering on the gale, Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail, And frighted waves rush wildly back Before the broadside’s reeling rack, The dying wanderer of the sea Shall look, at once, to heaven and thee, And smile, to see thy splendors fly, In triumph, o’er his closing eye.
Forever float that standard sheet! Where breathes the foe but falls before us? With Freedom’s soil beneath our feet, And Freedom’s banner streaming o’er us!