Posts Tagged ‘American Flag’

Story of Our Flag as Told by Nina Barwise

July 3, 2012

Image from BergerFine Arts

Story of Our Flag as Told by Nina Barwise

At the flag ceremony this morning Miss Nina Barwise read the following history of the Stars and Stripes.

It is not generally known and comes as a surprise to many Americans to realize that the Stars and Stripes is the oldest National flag in existence. Although the colonists frequently used devices of their own, the English flag was the flag of the country for more than one hundred and fifty years.

So different were the symbols of the colonies, regiments and ships that Washington, in 1775 wrote “Please fix some flag by which our vessels may know each other.”

In 1777 Congress appointed a committee consisting of General Washington, Robert Morris and Colonel Ross, “to designate a suitable flag for the nation.”

This committee as all the world knows conferred with Mistress Betsy Ross and afterwards recommended a flag in which the stripes recently introduced were retained, but in which the crosses, the symbol of British authority, gave place to the stars which were henceforth to shine for liberty.

This committee having reported on Jun 14, 1777 in old Independence Hall, Congress adopted the following resolution: “Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate, red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constitution. The stars to be arranged in a circle.”

Enter here the Star Spangled Banner with thirty-seven years to wait for the song that was to immortalize the name.

The flag was not changed until 1795, when two stripes and two stars were added for Vermont and Kentucky. By 1816 four more states were in the family. Realizing that there must be a limit to the stripes, it was recommended that the flag be permanently thirteen stripes, representing the thirteen original states and that a new star be added for each state, as admitted. Since then a star has  been added to the flag on the Fourth of July following the admission of states to the Union.

The flag at the time of the resolution had thirteen stars. In the war of 1812 fifteen, in the Mexican war, 29, in the Civil war 35, and in the Spanish-American war 45; the number today 48.

When about to sail from Salem, Mass., in command of the big “Charles Doggett,” Captain Driver was presented with a large American flag. As it was went aloft and broken out into the air, he christened the beautiful emblem “Old Glory,” and this was the name he ever more used for it.

Ah, folks of white and scarlet; ah blue field with your silver stars! May kind eyes welcome you, willing feet follow you, strong hands defend you, warm hearts cherish you and dying lips give you their blessing.

Ours by inheritance, ours by allegiance, ours by affection; long may you float on the free winds of heaven, the emblem of liberty, the hope of the world.

Unfurl bright stripes shine forth, clear stars swing outward to the breeze.
Go bear your message to the wilds, go tell it to the seas;
That poor men sit  within our shade and rich men in their pride;
That beggar boys and statemen’s sons walk ‘neath you side by side.
You guard the school house on the green, the church upon the hill;
And fold your precious blessings round the cabin by the rill.
While weary hearts from every land beneath the shining sun,
Will work and rest and home  beneath the flag of Washington.

Wichita Daily Times (Wichita Falls, Texas) Jul 4, 1912

**The Flag of Washington – by F.W. Gillett

Excerpt in above (not cited by Nina) – complete poem can be found in:

Title: The American Flag in Prose, Poetry and Song
Published: 1916
Page: 50

If the Flag Could Talk…

July 2, 2012

Image from U.S. Capitol Historical Society

If the flag could talk, here’s what it might say

“Hello! Remember me? Some people call me Old Glory others call me the Stars and Stripes. I have also been referred to as the Star Spangled Banner. But whatever they call me, I am your flag, or as I proudly state … the flag of the United States of America.

“There is something that has been bothering me, so I thought I might talk it over with you because it is about you and me.

“I remember some time ago, I think it was Memorial Day, people were lined up on both sides of the street to watch the parade. The town’s high school band was behind me, and naturally, I was leading the parade. When your daddy saw me coming along, waving in the breeze, he immediately removed his hat and placed it against his left shoulder so that his right hand was directly over his heart. Remember?

“And you, yes, I remember you standing there straight as a soldier. You didn’t have a hat, but you were giving the correct salute. They taught you in school to place your right hand over your heart. Remember little sister? Not to be outdone, she was saluting the same as you. Oh, I was very proud as I came down your street. There were some soldiers home on leave, and they were standing at attention giving the military salute. Also, some VFW veterans with their caps at jaunty angles were saluting smartly. Ladies, as well as the men, paid me the reverence I deserved.

“Now I may sound a little conceited. Well, I am. I have a right to be, because I represent the finest country in the world — the United States of America. More than one aggressive nation has tried to haul me down, but they all felt the fury of this freedom-loving country. Remember, many of you had to go overseas to defend me.

“What has happened? I’m still the same old flag. Oh, I’ve had a couple more stars added since you were a boy. A lot more blood has been shed since that Memorial Day Parade long ago. Dad is gone now. The home town has a new look. The last time I came down your street, I saw that some of the old landmarks were gone, but in their place, shining majestically in the sun, were a number of new buildings and homes. Yes, sir, the old home town sure has changed.

“But now I don’t feel as proud as I used to. When I come down your street you just stand there with your hands in your pockets and give me a small glance then look or turn away. When I think of all the places I’ve been — Anzio, Guadalcanal, Battle of the Bulge, Korea, Vietnam, I wonder what’s happened? I’m the same old flag but now I see children running around and shouting as I pass by. They don’t seem to know who I am. I saw an old man take his hat off and then look around. He didn’t see anybody else with theirs off so he quickly put his back on.

“Is it a sin to be an American patriot anymore? Have you forgotten what I stand for? Have you forgotten all the battlefields where men fought and died to keep this nation, your nation free? When you salute me you are actually saluting them.

“Take a look at the Memorial Honor Rolls sometime. Look at the names of those who never came back and are resting beneath white crosses on a faraway shore. Some of them were friends or relatives of yours, maybe even went to school with you. That’s who you’re saluting when you revere me.

“Well, it won’t be too long until I come down your street again. So when you see me, stand straight, place your hand over your heart and you’ll see me waving back. My salute to you. I’ll show you that I too remember!”

Daily Review (Hayward, California) Jul 4, 1975

Touch Not That Flag

June 14, 2012

Image from Son of the South


Traitor spare that flag!
Touch not a single star!
Its sheltering glory now
Still blazes near and far;
‘Twas our forefathers’ hand
That placed it o’er our head,
And thou shalt let it stand,
Or perish with the dead.

That dear old precious flag,
Whose glory and renown
Are spread o’er land and sea,
And would’st then tear it down?
Traitor! forbear thy touch!
Rend not its heart-bound ties!
Oh, spare that glorious flag,
Still streaming in the skies.

When I was yet a boy,
I gloried in the sight,
And raised my voice in joy
To greet its folds of light —
For it my home is dear;
Dear is my native land;
Forgive this foolish tear,
But let that flag stand!

My heart-strings round thee cling
Close as the stripe, old friend;
Thy praises men shall sing,
Till time itself shall end.
Old flag, the storm still brave,
And, Traitor, leave the spot!
While I’ve a hand to save,
Thy touch shall harm it not!

Allen County Democrat (Lima, Ohio) Jan 28, 1863

Thirteen Rebellious Stripes

June 13, 2010

The first American Flag that was displayed in great Britain was hoisted on board the ship Bedford, Capt. Moores, of Nantucket.

She arrived at the Downs February 3, 1783, passed Grayesend the 4th, and was reported at the Custom House on the 5th.

A London journal of 1783 states that she was not allowed regular entry until some consultation had taken place between the  commissioners of the customs and the lords of council, on account of the many acts of parliament yet in force against the rebels in America.

She is loaded with 487 butts of whale oil, is American built, manned wholly by American seamen, wears the rebel colors, and belongs to the Island of Nantucket in Massachusetts.

This is the first vessel which has displayed the thirteen rebellious stripes in any British port. The vessell is at Horesley-down, a little below the tower, and is intended immediately to return to New England.

The Experiment (Norwalk, Ohio)   Jul 6, 1842

Title: Story of the American Flag
Editor:Samuel Fallows
Publisher: Educational publishing co., 1903
(Google book LINK)