They were thirteen individual colonies, paving the way for freedom and a new life in a promising land. It was the beginning of something none of them had experienced before, the chance to build a country, founded on freedom and human rights.
When Betsy Ross stitched the first flag together in June of 1776, she probably didn’t really understand the impact of it. She created thirteen horizontal stripes for the original colonies, seven red and six white. Red was the color of valor and hardiness, of the bold and the brave. White embraced the innocence of those times, representing all they didn’t know about this new land, and the pure hopes of its founders. Adding the blue color of perseverance and justice, the stars of vigilance and honor helped round out the flag…the first United States Flag!
The first Continental Congress established the flag as a symbol of unity and freedom on June 14th, 1777. It was finally given official recognition as a National Holiday by President Harry Truman in 1949. The flag is honored forever as a banner of intention toward unity and independence, toward allegiance and freedom. It inspired James B. Upham and Francis Bellamy to write “The Pledge of Allegiance” in 1892. It caused Francis Scott Key to lift it up in song in an uncertain world in 1931 as he wrote, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The United States flag has been planted on mountain tops from Mount Everest to the North Pole. It found its way to foreign shores in 1805 in Tripoli and to the moon and back when Neil Armstrong planted it on that lunar surface in 1969. The flag is much more than a symbol. It is the very fabric of American life, reminding all of us that it took the efforts of many to give us the gifts of freedom we have today. No matter where we live, no matter who we are, we owe allegiance to the country that gives us strength and hope and renewal every day.
Let us see the American flag with new eyes and let us always hold a vision of what we can be just as our fore-parents did. Keep the flag waving!