‘Old Glory’ honored on Flag Day

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2000

‘Tis the star-spangled banner: oh, long may it wave, O’re the land of the free and the home of the brave.

-from "The Star Spangled Banner" by Frances Scott Key, Sept. 14, 1814


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Features Editor

Of all the days that America’s flag is honored, the day set aside just to recognize Old Glory, is perhaps the least observed.

The flag was first authorized by Congress June 14, 1777. This date is now observed as Flag Day throughout America. But observed how?

Few state and county offices across the nation close their doors. Business is open as usual and parades are few and far between. Some towns fly flags and some families stick one of a post and put a hamburger on the grill but Flag Day doesn’t get the flap it deserves.

Randy Ross, veterans affairs officer for Pike County, said the United States flag is the third oldest in the world.

"Accorded to my information the flag was first flown from Fort Stanwix, on the site of the present city of Rome, N.Y. on Aug.

3, 1777. It was

later under fire for three days in the Battle of Oriskany, Aug. 6, 1777.

Ross said the first flag had a star and a stripe for each state (13) for the states, at that time, has just been erected from the original 13 colonies.

"The colors of the flag were red, white and blue," he said. "Red was for valor, zeal and fervency. White was for hope, purity, cleanliness of life and rectitude of conduct. Blue was for the color of heaven, for reverence to God, loyalty, sincerity, justice and truth. The flag represented then, and does today, the values that we, as a nation, hold true."

The stars symbolized dominion, sovereignty and lofty aspirations.

Ross said the symbolism of the flag was interpreted by George Washington as ‘We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty,"

When Vermont (1791) and Kentucky (1792) were admitted to the Union, the number of stars and stripes was raised to 15. As other states came into the Union, it was evident that there would be too many stripes. In 1818, Congress enacted that the number of stripes be reduced and restricted to 13, representing the 13 original states and that a star should represented each state.

Ross said the name "Old Glory" was given to the national flag Aug. 10, 1831 by Capt. William Driver of the brig Charles Doggett.

"The United States flag is a symbol of national independence, of individual liberty, of idealism and of patriotism throughout the world," Ross said. "Today, hopefully, every American will pause just a few minutes

to honor Old Glory and give a few moments of thought to the sacrifices that have been made to keep it flying and over the greatest country on earth."