The Central Virginian

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A salute to the red, white and blue

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 11:09 am

Our American flag, also nicknamed “Old Glory” will celebrate her 236-year-old birthday on Friday, June 14 and is the official National symbol of the United States of America.

Many citizens of this country have no idea what Flag Day is, how it was started or what it means.  Many do not know what the flag colors represent, but many know that in the field of battle or in the triumph of victory, pride swells within our chest as we watch her fly.

On June 14, 1777, in a journal entry of the Continental Congress it reads, “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 constellation.”

The standards of design have become even more precise over the years as our national history evolved. The regulated design calls for seven red and six white stripes, with the red stripes at top and bottom.

The union of navy blue fills the upper left quarter from the top to the lower edge of the fourth red stripe. The stars have one point up and are in nine horizontal rows. The odd-numbered rows have six stars. The even-numbered rows have five stars, centered diagonally between the stars in the longer rows.

The white signifies purity and innocence, red signifies valor and bravery and the blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.

Although Flag Day is observed nationwide, it is not a public holiday in many parts of the United States. On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of the event, but Flag Day did not become official until August 1949, when President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 each year as National Flag Day.

In 1966, Congress requested that the president issue annually a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as National Flag Day.

Each year the president is requested to issue a proclamation to call on government officials in the U.S. to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on Flag Day and to urge US citizens to observe Flag Day.

According to the United States Flag Code, it’s “custom to display the flag outside only from sunrise to sunset. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.”

So, on Friday place your flag out and celebrate the birthday of the American Flag and what she has meant and still means to millions of people worldwide.

“Happy Birthday Old Glory.”

By Paula Hawthorne