Friday, June 09, 2006

History of Ol' Glory

As seen in:
The June 12th, 2006 Record Herald:
The June 15th, 2006 News Journal:

Everyone assumes that Betsy Ross designed and created the first U.S. Flag; however, it is most likely to have been congressman Francis Hopkins who designed it and Betsy Ross, the Philadelphia seamstress, who actually made the first flag. Like much of America's history, it is not a hundred percent certain but widely accepted.

The Look of the Flag:
The Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act on June 14, 1777, which stated: "Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation." This is why June 14 of each year is set aside for Flag Day.

Act of April 4, 1818 - provided for 13 stripes and one star for each state, to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state, signed by President Monroe.

June 24, 1912-an Executive Order was signed by President Taft, directing how the stars and stripes would be arranged on our nation's flag. Until then, it was left to the discretion of the flag maker.

August 21, 1959-another Executive Order, signed by President Eisenhower, provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.

Old Glory:
Around 1830, Captain William Driver of Salem, Massachusetts, was presented a flag as a birthday gift, bearing twenty four stars, (the number of states at the time) just before one of his voyages. When the flag was raised, he cried, "Old Glory!" and the nick name stuck, and has remained for almost two hundred years.

The Pledge:
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy but was not officially recognized as the official national pledge until June 22, 1942, and not until it was modified somewhat from its original form.

April 22, 1951-the Knights of Columbus added the words "Under God" to the pledge and it spread like wildfire to all of the Knights of Columbus organizations nationwide. Many who were not members of the Knights began adding "Under God" to the pledge even though the Knights failed on convince congress to officially add the words to the pledge.

It wasn't until Flag Day, 1954, that Congress passed legislation to add "Under God" due in no small part to President Eisenhower.

Before WWII, one started the Pledge with the right hand over their heart as they said, "I pledge allegiance," then extended their arm toward the flag, palm up as if to raise the flag, and continued the pledge with the arm extended. Since this gesture was very similar to the Nazi salute, it was changed so that the hand remained over the heart for the entire pledge.

We take the pledge for granted because it is pounded into our heads from an early age. Think of each of the words. It is quite meaningful. We should take pride when we say it. We owe it to all who have fought to defend her, our Flag, Old Glory.

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.

Millions have died defending our flag and all that it stands for. This Flag Day, please be sure to show respect for our flag. It was there in the beginning, and I hope it will never see an end.