The history and message behind Flag Day in US

Bouquets and Barbs


From Robert Massicotte, post adjutant, American Legion Uren-Cooper-Johnson Post 50, Iron Mountain:

Each year, our nation pauses to honor the anniversary of the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. In July 1908, the Grand Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks provided for the observance of Flag Day by making it mandatory for each subordinate lodge of the Order. June 14 was proclaimed Flag Day nationally by President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. National Flag Day was formally established by an act of Congress, signed on Aug. 3, 1949, by President Harry Truman, a member of the Elks.

“The flag is a visible symbol of the ideal aspirations of the American people. It is the one focus in which all unite in reverential devotion. We differ in religion; we differ in politics; we engage in disputes as to the true meaning of the Constitution, and even challenge the wisdom of some of its provisions; we inject self-interest and cupidity into most of the ordinary transactions of daily life, but through the sanctifying folds of the flag, the collective intelligence of the nation rises superior to the wisdom of its parts, and thus ensures the preservation of the Republic.”

These words are as true today as they were when spoken by Major Gen. Arthur MacArthur, a Union captain during the Civil War.

What is the meaning of the flag of the United States? There can never be a definitive answer to that question. There are people in this world who see it as a symbol of imperialism; others see it as a destiny of the people. But reference to these and similar views of the flag was resolved by Woodrow Wilson when he said, “This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and shape of this nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation. The choices are ours.”

Only love, true love of our fellow man, can create peace. The emblem and token of that love is the Stars and Stripes, the symbol of the American way of life.


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