The American flag was adopted when our nation was less than a year old. On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress changed the previous version to one with white stars on a blue background, accompanied by thirteen red and white stripes to represent the first thirteen colonies.
Since then, the image of the flag has evoked emotions that only Americans and the ones we protect can understand. Our National Anthem was written after such a sighting. Watching from a British truce ship where he had been detained, lawyer Francis Scott Key was so moved by the site of Old Glory the morning after a day long bombardment of Fort McHenry that he wrote a poem describing the moment.
On the top of Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945, six men raised the American flag. The photograph of the event has become the most reproduced image in the history of photography. “In that moment, Rosenthal’s camera recorded the soul of a nation.” – Editors of US Camera Magazine (from IwoJima.com).
On September 11, 2001, as the nation reeled from the attacks, firefighters draped an American flag over the Pentagon. The next day, thousands of Pentagon employees returned to work, even as the building still burned. As a Naval Officer who was there later told me, “We wanted to show them they can’t stop us.”
The American flag. It has meant so much to so many, in ways most cannot put into words. What it represents, what it symbolizes, what it means, can only be understood by those who stand in its shadow and marvel at its beauty.
Flag Day means something to them.