The United States Flag: A Symbol of Freedom
The United States flag is easily recognizable around the world. Its 13 bars and 50 stars proudly represent a nation that is established as one of the most powerful in the world.
This June 14th marks the Day of the United States Flag, a symbol of freedom to which Americans pledge their allegiance. It is a day of celebration known as the “Day de la Bandera” and its origins date back to 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, organized a birthday celebration for the flag in Fredonia on June 14, commemorating the 108th anniversary of its official adoption.
By June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia hosted Flag Day celebrations, and the following year, the Society of the Children of the New York Revolution joined in. It wasn’t until May 30, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Flag Day as an official holiday. However, it was later changed to June 14 each year by President Truman in 1949.
The 13 alternating red and white bars on the flag represent the original 13 colonies. These colonies flourished under British rule but rebelled against the crown, leading to the War of Independence. On July 4, 1776, the United States declared its independence and became a federalist country.
The 50 white stars on a blue field represent the 50 states of the nation. The colors of the flag have significant meanings: red symbolizes courage and valor, white represents purity and innocence, and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
The design and colors of the United States flag have served as inspiration for other flags, including those of Chile, Liberia, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico.
The flag can be flown and displayed on any occasion, but particularly on commemorative days like Veterans Day, Flag Day, and the anniversaries of Lincoln, Washington, Martin Luther King, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving. It should always be hoisted respectfully and under favorable conditions. For instance, it is discouraged to do so during thunderstorms or when it is damaged. Additionally, it must be illuminated if flown during the night.
The flag is also flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning. The president, a state governor, or the mayor of the District of Columbia can order flags to be flown at half-mast through a presidential proclamation. It is a solemn gesture to honor the nation or a state during times of mourning.