Old Glory Turns 243 Years Old on Flag Day, June 14th

The Stars & Stripes float majestically with Utah’s Wasatch Mountains as a backdrop.

John Hartvigsen

At 243 years old, the flag of the United States couldn’t look better.  Her thirteen red and white strips are vibrant and crisp, while the fifty white stars in her blue union shine brightly.  The fifty-star flag, adopted sixty years ago in 1960, is the only version many Americans can remember.  However, the number of stars in the union have increased regularly from thirteen to fifty in twenty-seven patterns with each flag mirroring the number of states in the federal union at its adoption.

While countries circling the globe fly their own national flags, Americans have an unusually strong attachment to the Stars & Stripes.  Some countries think Americans a bit strange when it comes to their flag.  Not having a monarch or a non-political head of state, it is the red, white & blue of the flag symbolizes the United States of America.

U.S. Flag have been posted on the moon, not in conquest or to claim lunar lands but to honor achievement.

Americans fly their flag at times of despair and times of triumph.  However, always the flag encourages Americans to greater and finer actions.  The iconic photo of six U.S. Marines raising Old Glory over Mount Suribachi inspired battle weary U.S. combatants during the ferocious battle to capture Iwo Jima.  The photograph bolstered American resolve in the push for final victory.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11th in 2001, a strikingly similar photograph of three New York firefighters raising a U.S. flag over the devastating rubble at Ground Zero untied responders to the tragedy while expressing hope in the future.

The U.S. flag has been there at times marking American achievement.  The first U.S. lunar landing a little over fifty years ago provides a telling example.  American astronauts, the fist humans to set foot on the lunar surface, carried and planted the Stars & Stripes.  All six U.S. lunar landings included ceremonial postings of the United States national flag.  These posting, not done to claim lunar territory, honored the united effort of an American team, which made scientific achievement for America and mankind.

This cartoon refers back to iconic photographs of the Iwo Jima flag raising during World War II and three New York firefighters raising a flag at Ground Zero.

Accompanying the U.S. flag are numerous other flags that have significant meaning to American groups.  State flags represent the fifty stars on the flag’s union.  Flags of the Armed Forces honor each of the U.S. military forces.  During the pandemic folks wanted flags to honor medical professions and so many others who carried out critical services to keep Americans safe, safe and fed.  Some have asked, “Isn’t there a flag to honor all the armed forces, all veterans, all first responders, all COVID-19 heroes?”

The Flag of the United States of America honor all groups and individuals that have, through service and sacrifice for the grater good of our nation and peoples.  In the words of one military veteran, “The U.S. flag says it all.”  As is does so, it encourages all Americans to offer service above self.  The Flag of the United States of America is the great symbol of our shared history, values and aspirations

Happy Birthday, Old Glory.  May you wave in inspiration of a united people for generations to come.

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