Happy New Year!

John Hartvigsen-

Why Do We Fly Flags?

Probably the earliest use of flags was to rally the troops in war.  Flags identified friend and foe in the din of battle and could communicate orders to combatants on land and on sea. Over centuries the usage grew to include somber ceremonies, but in all these usages flags belonged to authorities and not to the common people.

In the United States, the bond between flags and people grew during the U.S. Civil War. Whittier’s poem “Barbara Frietchie” relates the tale of a woman who defies Confederate soldiers who fired at a U.S. flag displayed from her attack window.

Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff

Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf;

She leaned far out on the window-sill,

And shook it forth with a royal will.

“Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,

But spare your country’s flag,” she said.

During and following the First and Second World Wars, display of the U.S. flag by civilians grew exponentially. Today, the United States is somewhat unique in the world.  Flag display on homes and businesses is more common than perhaps in any other nation.  Not having a monarch as the head of state, the Stars and Stripes has become America’s great symbol of our nation’s shared traditions, goals and aspirations.

Why do we fly flags?  While flags play an important part in solemn ceremonies, the exuberant display of Old Glory springs forth in celebration.  While flags find display daily, they break forth on homes and lining streets on holidays.

As 2018 passes into history, New Year’s celebrations ring out for 2019 as fireworks light the skies.  Moreover, New Year’s Day is the first flag flying holiday of the year with many more national days of celebration.  Join Colonial Flag Foundation in flying the flag to celebrate all that unites us as a people.

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue!

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