Raise That Flag!

I’m American. And even when my country is being ridiculous, and I’m still happy to be here. Well, that’s a lie, I cried really hard when GWB was elected the second time. Like, really hard. Really, really hard. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.  (right now)

With today being our Independence Day, I thought I might just give a little info about our flag, since it is pretty neat.

Stars and Stripes All Over

A rumor says that the stars are for the sky, but there seems to be no record for that outside of the Continental Congress stating “tthat the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation”. Originally, there were 13 stars for 13 states. The number of stars changed with the addition of new states to the union.

The number of stripes on the flag does not change, though. The thirteen stripes on the flag represent the thirteen original colonies that seceded from Britain.

No official record explains why the colors red, white, and blue were chosen for the original flag, but I was taught in elementary school that the red was for the blood spilled protecting freedom and that the white was for purity of belief in our country. I’ve since learned that meanings behind the colors were ascribed to them when they were chosen for the seal as well. Red is for hardiness and valor; white is for purity and innocence; blue is for justice and perseverance.

The meanings still aren’t for the colors of the flag, but I think that they are just as good as any.

And anyway, there are many different flags around the world that use the same colors. I actually think the colors are strangely common for flags across the world.

The current set up for the flag, with the nine rows of offset stars, was put into use in 1959 when Hawaii became an official state. There are designs for flags that have up to 56 stars, waiting in the event of possible new states.

My favorite little tidbit about the flag isn’t quite about the flag, though. The Pledge of Allegiance, a pledge that most children are taught from a fairly young age, was originally published in 1892.

The original version we have:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1923, it was amended to this:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

And finally, in 1954, someone got the bright idea to add “under god” just after “one nation.” When I first learned the Pledge, I didn’t question the version I was taught, though I did start protesting pledging at a fairly young age because of my belief in separation of church and state. And by young, I mean fourth or fifth grade.

In high school, I would recite the pledge, but I would change “under god” to “under Gaia,” as I had officially come out as a pagan at that point. No one ever bothered to try to talk me out of it so long as neither my refusal to recite or my modified recitation was distracting to anyone else, which was interesting because I was from a very small town/conservative situation.

And while I personally will not say “under god,” I certainly have no problem with someone trying to invoke their deity’s protection of the country I love and live in.


About strikingfancy

I have many and varied interests, and I plan to explore them all. Eventually. View all posts by strikingfancy

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