Sunday, May 14, is Flag Day in the United States.
According to Wikipedia, the observance “commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. ...
“In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; on Aug. 3, 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.”
The U.S. flag, sometimes called the Stars and Stripes, has seven horizontal red stripes and six white ones, the colors alternating, and in the upper left corner a blue field with 50 white stars: one for each state.
Although the colors red, white and blue did not initially have any specific meaning as relates to the flag, Charles Thompson, secretary of the Continental Congress, offered some insight when he reported to Congress on the meaning of those colors as used in the Great Seal of the United States. He said white signifies purity and innocence; red, valor and bravery; and blue, vigilance, perseverance and justice.
That piece of cloth waves as the symbol of this country throughout the world.
However, no nation’s flag is universally loved. Our American flag is both adored and despised; revered and feared; proudly held high and defiantly trampled on; illuminated by spotlights at night and burned by fire during the day. It depends on whom you ask.
In the early 1900s, Presbyterian minister, speaker and columnist Dr. Frank Crane penned some of his own thoughts on the meaning and significance of the U.S. flag. They seem timely for Flag Day.
Crane wrote, “When you see the Stars and Stripes displayed, son, stand up and take off your hat! Somebody may titter, but don’t you mind! When Old Glory comes along, salute, and let them think what they please! When you hear the band playing The Star-Spangled Banner in a restaurant or hotel dining room, get up, even if you rise alone; stand there, and don’t be ashamed of it, either. ... That piece of red, white and blue bunting means five-thousand years of struggle upward. It is the full-blown flower of ages of fighting for liberty. It is the century plant of human hope in bloom.
“Your flag stands for humanity, for an equal opportunity to all the sons of men. Of course, we haven’t arrived yet at that goal; there are many injustices yet among us, but the only hope of righting the wrongs of men lies in the feeling produced in our bosoms by the sight of that flag. It stands for no race. ... It stands for men, men of any blood who will come and live with us under its protection.
“Other flags mean a glorious past, this flag a glorious future. ... So stand, and take off your hat and be glad of your patriotism, when you see that flag displayed.”