Friday, July 6, 2012

The American Flag: Fabric or Symbol?

We have a friend in Florida who is a commander of the Marine Corps League in Florida that asked me to write a note on the American Flag for the newsletter. On behalf of the July4th festivities, I offer it to my readers this July, 2012: There are many symbols of American freedom that are all around us, each and everyday. As we enter the month of July, we are confronted with these very symbolic representations that remind us of who we are as a nation, and what we stand for as a united people. Whenever we celebrate July 4, we celebrate the birth of our nation when a few brave and courageous individuals met in Philadelphia to declare with one voice: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." After reading the article about Betsy Ross in the June newsletter, I was inspired to remember those sacred words of the Declaration of Independence, especially when being reminded of the greatest symbol of our country, the American Flag, our Star Spangled Banner. I am sure everyone knows of the story how General George Washington asked Mrs. Betsy Ross of Philadelphia to sew the standard that would become the American flag. (For anyone interested in more detail, check out this link A committee of Congress made up of Robert Morris and George Ross (both of Pennsylvania) accompanied by General Washington met with Betsy Ross (who happened to be an acquaintance of the General, and a well-renowned seamstress in Philadelphia. Prior to making the Star Spangled Banner, she had a reputation for making signal flags for the Pennsylvania Navy of 1775. As recounted by Betsy's daughter and other family members she was paid 14 pounds, twelve shillings, and two pence for the project.   The exact directions from Congress can be noted from the following resolution approved by the members in the design of the new flag that was passed on June 14th, 1777 and read: "Resolved. That the flag of the United States be 13 stripes alternate red and white, that the Union be 13 stars white in a field of blue representing a new constellation." Regardless, the American flag has been an important part of my life and the lives of our countrymen. For every Marine will always be energized by the raising of that very flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, or standing erect and tall on Firebase Charlie in Da Nang, Vietnam, or proudly in the desert encampments of Iraq, and the mountainous gorges of Afghanistan. The American Flag is an important symbol of our American freedom, and our way of life, defended proudly by the Corps, for over two hundred years. God Bless the USA.

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