"Old Glory" ... Who would have thought that great symbol of our Republic, a symbol which has survived wars, depressions and those politically charged crimes, would become a casualty of a semi-or-non-appreciative generation? Can you think of an appropriate word to describe anyone who has become successful, sometimes even a millionaire ... or one who has succeeded by hard work and overcoming unfortunate circumstances ... what word would best describe those who show or refuse to show respect to that symbol which has been part of our foundation and that has drawn us together when crises or challenges arrive?
"Old Glory" ... a name that was given our flag many years ago, aptly describes the freedom generations upon generations have fought to enhance and preserve. Ironically, it waves over those who cannot or will not stand with respect for the freedom it has represented for many millions, a freedom which can be found throughout much of the world because the good old USA and her citizens have carried it high while fighting evils of every kind. Even those in lands which are really not friendly toward us will stand as it ripples in the breeze or passes during a ceremony. Of course, there are those in some lands urged not to respect the U.S. flag by despots, dictators and other evils opposed to the freedoms we cherish. How sad!
Those who protest -- which too often erupts into disruptive torches -- boggle the minds of Americans who, in spite of such lawlessness, respect that freedom -- the right to protest -- while deploring such criminal acts which occur.
Flags have been on the world scene for hundreds of generations. They have inspired greatness and positiveness throughout history but, sadly, they have also been used to rally those whose aims are destructive and sometimes have resulted in the deaths of millions of people. It is the flags of nations like America which have fostered the goodness in mankind, even though sometimes it has taken time to resolve problems that have existed for generations.
Sometimes mankind's thinking evolves into despot-type demonstrations which create more confusion and, in doing so, often destroys progress that has taken years to achieve. Man, with his infinite sense of self-centeredness, is one of the hardest obstacles to steady, positive progress. Moving forward in a logical, improving manner too often is stymied by overeager displays.
The answer? ... Perhaps patience, a trait which seems to elude even some of the most serious and progressive thinkers. Too often it is almost impossible to satisfy the instantaneous demands which cloud issues and slow or prevent gradual progress. A sun which peeps out from behind a cloud-filled sky can achieve progress so much better than a full-blast sunbeam which is quickly covered by another dark cloud.
Our flag, Old Glory, is a result of action by the Continental Congress which met in Philadelphia. Various types of flags and banners had been used throughout the colonies by various groups of soldiers and patriots who were willing to give their lives for freedom. The action to create a flag which would serve the entire emerging nation was taken on June 14, 1777. It was a necessary move because, at approximately the same time, Congress authorized the enlistment of soldiers to fight in that uncertain war, thus joining the volunteer army, the Continental Army ... a battalion of soldiers united under the new national flag. Thus, when you honor or respect the flag, you are also honoring and respecting the nation's military, then and now, which produced and has maintained the foundation of our freedom.
That first flag was to have 13 stripes, alternate red and white on a field of blue on which were stars representing the colonies of that time. The blue with stars depicted a new constellation in the heavens.
A few years later, in 1794, two additional states were admitted to the union and two stars and two stripes were added to that growing flag -- fifteen stars and fifteen stripes. It was this flag that was flying over Fort McHenry which inspired Francis Scott Key to pen what many years later was to become our National Anthem. That poem inspired the use of another name for the flag: The Stars and Stripes.
During subsequent years additions, to the union resulted in more stars being added. President Woodrow Wilson was the first president to declare June 14 (1916) as a day to honor the flag, which in 1818 had reverted to the original 13 stripes. Display of the stars varied as more states were admitted to the union, and the field of blue now has 50 stars.
It was in 1949 that Congress passed legislation declaring June 14 is a National Holiday. That is not a federal holiday, rather a holiday when flags should be flown, parades and other celebrations held.
In 1885 a teacher in Wisconsin, Bernard Cigrand, held what is believed to be the first recognized flag day. A few years later, in 1893, Francis Bellamy wrote and published in "Youth Companion" the original Pledge of Allegiance which read:
"I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The words "to the flag of the United States of America" were added, and later President Eisenhower persuaded Congress to add "one nation under God" to the pledge which is learned and recited by children throughout the nation.
This 'cuff is being printed on Wednesday; tomorrow, June 14, is Flag Day, the official day to support, honor and be thankful for that symbol of our freedom. It is always an uplifting sight to drive around town and see flags flying at homes, on public buildings, on Main Street. Stop a minute, or just a few seconds, and look at those colors rippling in a breeze, as it seems to wave at you ... Or it may remain static and solid against the staff, almost guaranteeing your freedom another day in the greatest nation in the world. Does it challenge -- solid, firm freedom that must be cherished and preserved for following generations?
How great it is, no matter there are always blips on the horizon, there are actions taken that defy logic, there are situations which cause frustration and uncertainty ... but so long as there is a flag -- Old Glory -- waving to us, inspiring us to be loyal Americans, the worries will fade into oblivion as time marches on.
And, while you're stopped in front of that displayed flag, would that be a time to revert to childhood and recite the challenging words -- not religious words, but challenging words for all freedoms, religion included? "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
P.S. If there is another 'cuff, you'll hear a confession and a final report on the number of miles walked to the NOAA weather station during the past nearly 40 years. Promise? Don't hold your breath.
Dodie Evans is the former owner and long-time editor of the Gravette News Herald. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Editorial on 06/13/2018
Print Headline: Long may she wave ... .