It’s Flag Day!

Astronaut Gene Cernan Jump Salutes Flag, Apollo 17, 1972, public domain

The flag of the United States of America is a sign of hope and liberty across the world. It is a powerful symbol that represents everything that makes America great: our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence, our rule of law, and our free enterprise system. Today, on Flag Day, we get to honor the American flag and what it represents and remember its history.

The flag we know today has 50 stars and 13 stripes, representing the 50 states and the 13 original colonies. It did not always look this way, though. The first unofficial flag of the United States was the Grand Union Flag, also known as the Continental Colors. It had the familiar 13 stripes in red and white, but in place of the stars was the Union Jack. This was the unofficial flag until June 14, 1777, when the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution. This flag was the first to feature white stars on a blue background. Created by Francis Hopkinson, it was first raised by the Continental Army at the Middlebrook Encampment in June 1777.

The first flag served as a banner of freedom in colonial America as they fought the war for independence. It was a symbol of a new nation, ripe with possibility and ready to engage in the great American experiment. Nearly 250 years later, Old Glory represents a triumphant nation. Our Constitutional system has created the freest and most prosperous nation on Earth. But it should also serve as a reminder that those things had to be fought for. The crown jewels of the United States: the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the rule of law, belong to we the people by sacred right.

Just as the star-spangled banner served as a rallying point for colonial Americans to fight for their freedom, it should also be our rallying banner to defend the great system that we have.

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