In my travels, I see flags of all sizes and locations in rural towns and farmland. From the tops of silos to the hands of children…
In 1776 a nation of immigrants sought it’s independence with the noblest of words written and deliberated in Philadelphia to be ultimately signed on July 4th. A year later on June 14, the stars and stripes design of our flag was approved by Congress.
But it was our 28th President Woodrow Wilson who reminded Americans at a turbulent time — in some ways like today — why our unity and freedom are so emblemed in Old Glory.
President Wilson’s speech in proclaiming Flag Day on June 14, 1916 holds some words of wisdom for our times nearly one century hence:
My Fellow Countrymen:
Many circumstances have recently conspired to turn our thoughts to a critical examination of the conditions of our national life, of the influences which have seemed to threaten to divide us in interest and sympathy, of forces within and forces without that seemed likely to draw us away from the happy traditions of united purpose and action of which we have been so proud, It has therefore seemed to me fitting that I should call your attention to the approach of the anniversary of the day upon which the flag of the United States was adopted by the Congress as the emblem of the Union, and to suggest to you that it should this year and in the years to come be given special significance as a day of renewal and reminder, a day upon which we should direct our minds with a special desire of renewal to thoughts of the ideals and principles of which we have sought to make our great Government the embodiment.
I therefore suggest and request that throughout the nation and if possible in every community the fourteenth day of June be observed as FLAG DAY …
Let us on that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, “one and inseparable” from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers’ first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts, for an America which no man can corrupt, no influence draw away from its ideals, no force divide against itself,–a nation singly distinguished among all the nations of mankind for its clear, individual conception alike of its duties and its privileges, its obligations and its rights.
Yes, it’s near dusk on Flag Day 2015 as I write this, 99 years after President Wilson’s observation and proclamation …. These words to give us pause to reflect and cause to see Old Glory flown high and to remember who we are and what has challenged us in the past that American men and women did sacrifice of themselves to protect that our freedom would endure and shine its light to each new generation.