ON A PERSONAL NOTE/By Maramis
Yes, you’re probably right that I forgot it too, but the good news is that since it came so soon after Memorial Day, many of us may still
have had our flags handy, or at least had them in an easy-to-find place for a quick hoisting or displaying of their flag.
Understanding Flag Day, and the creation of the flag, as found online THE HISTORY OF FLAG DAY.
The first celebration of the U.S. Flag’s birthday was held in 1877 on the 100th anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777. However, it is believed that the first annual recognition of the flag’s birthday dates back to 1885 when school teacher, BJ Cigrand, first organized a group of Wisconsin school children to observe June 14 — the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes as the Flag’s Birthday. Cigrand, now known as the ‘Father of Flag Day,’ continued to publicly advocate the observance of June 14 as the flag’s ‘birthday’, or ‘Flag Day’ for years.
Just a few years later the efforts of another school teacher, George Balch, led to the formal observance of ‘Flag Day’ on June 14 by the New York State Board of Education. Over the following years as many as 36 state and local governments began to adopt the annual observance.
For over 30 years Flag Day remained a state and local celebration.
In 1916, the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 became a nationally observed event by a proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson. However, it was not designated as National Flag Day until August 3rd, 1949, when an Act of Congress designated June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
Today, Flag Day is celebrated with parades, essay contests, ceremonies, and picnics sponsored by veterans’ groups, schools, and groups like the National Flag Day foundation whose goal is to preserve the traditions, history, pride, and respect that are due the nation’s symbol, Old Glory.
More Information: The Stars and Stripes originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777. The resolution read: “Resolved, that the flag of the 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 resolution gave no instruction as to how many points the stars should have, nor how the stars should be arranged on the blue union.
Consequently, some flags had stars scattered on the blue field without any specific design, some arranged the stars in rows, and some in a
circle. The first Navy Stars and Stripes had the stars arranged in staggered formation in alternate rows of threes and twos on a blue field. Other Stars and Stripes flags had stars arranged in alternate rows of four, five and four. Some stars had six points while others had eight.
Strong evidence indicates that Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was responsible for the stars in the U.S. flag. At the time that the flag resolution was adopted, Hopkinson was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board’s Middle Department. Hopkinson also helped design other devices for the Government including the Great Seal of the United States. For his services, Hopkinson submitted a letter to the Continental Admiralty Board asking “whether a Quarter Cask of the public Wine will not be a proper & reasonable Reward for these Labors of Fancy and a suitable Encouragement to future Exertions of a like Nature.” His request was turned down since the Congress regarded him as a public servant. Meaning Behind the 13 Folds The flag-folding ceremony represents the same religious principles on which our great country was originally founded.
—The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
—The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
—The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the
defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
—The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it is Him we turn to in times of peace, as well as in
times of war, for His divine guidance.
—The fifth fold is a tribute to our country. In the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always
be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
—The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and
to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
—The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all
enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
—The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
—The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood. It has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that has molded the character of the men and women who have made this country great.
—The 10th fold is a tribute to father, who has also given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.
—The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
—The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.
—The 13th and last fold, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”
After the Folding Ceremony After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington and the sailors and Marines who served under Capt. John Paul Jones and were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the U.S. Armed Forces, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.
The source and the date of origin of this Flag Folding Procedure is unknown. However, some sources attribute it to the Gold Star Mothers of America while others to an Air Force chaplain stationed at the United States Air Force Academy. Some sources also indicate that the 13 folds are a nod to the original first 13 colonies. The flag folding ceremony is provided as a patriotic service.
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.