Today is “Flag Day,” when we honor the American flag.
Also known as “Old Glory” and the “Stars and Stripes,” the United States flag has witnessed a lot lo these many years yet it remains the beacon of freedom to the world.
In fact, the flag is so revered that a “flag etiquette” exists to inform the public the correct ways to handle and display the flag, among many other topics.
A simplified version of the list is available in the children’s book, “Who Was Betsy Ross?” by James Buckley Jr.
In addition to a biography of Betsy Ross, who’s been credited throughout history for creating the first American flag, the author has included a brief list of “shoulds” when displaying it. They are a simplification of the much longer and very detailed “United States Flag Code” that is available online.*
The rules in Buckley’s book include:
“Flags should be flown only during daylight hours and never in the rain.
When displayed with state flags, the US flag should be highest.
A flag is flown at half-staff, or only halfway up a pole, to honor the passing of an important person.
When the flag is hung on a wall, the blue field should always be on the left.”
Some historians are skeptical of the Betsy Ross-as-creator-of-the-American flag legend. In “Who Was Betsy Ross” quoted above, author Buckley addresses the issue on page 40:
“There’s a great American legend that Betsy Ross sewed the very first American flag. Is it true? Her family says so! It’s a story that’s become a part of the country’s early history...”
In another children’s book, “The American Flag” by Patricia Ryon Quiri, you’ll find the following:
“...The well-known story about Betsy Ross meeting with George Washington to make the first official flag is very popular among schoolchildren. Although Betsy Ross was a flagmaker, most historians doubt the truth of this story...
“Another person who claimed he made the first Star and Stripes was a New Jersey man named Francis Hopkinson. He had signed the Declaration of Independence. Hopkinson sent a letter to Congress asking to be paid for his flag design. But Congress did not pay him. They felt that many other people had helped design the new flag...
“We will probably never know who created the first official flag of the United States. The important thing is that Americans honor their flag.
“One special way to do this is on Flag Day, celebrated every year on June 14.”
Let’s do what Author Quiri suggests.
Fly your American flag today! Remember, it is yours!
If you’re interested in American history and the story of the American flag, look to MidPointe Library for all your needs.
On-shelf or online, MidPointe offers a vast amount of history items for adults and youth. Go to: www.midpointelibrary.org > Catalog Search (for on-shelf and electronic items)
For a total e-experience, go to: www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Audiobooks > Books > Magazines > Movies and TV shows > Music > Research Databases > Digital Archives.
Accompanying images are:
Astronaut David R. Scott giving a military salute to the flag on the Moon during the Apollo 15 mission August 1, 1971. Credit: NASA/JSC
Photo of the famous painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware” from Wikipedia.
The American flag flying high at MidPointe Library, 125 S. Broad St., Middletown, Ohio
Firefighters with American flag at the scene of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City. From Google Images.
Covers of “Who was Betsy Ross?” and “The American Flag,” both available at MidPointe Library.