The American flag is a symbol of freedom and sacrifice for United States citizens. Although we typically picture cloth versions of this national emblem, it can be anything that the observer acknowledges. Therefore, a Christmas tree adorned in red, white, and blue could be considered an American flag. Examples can be made from any material or placed on any object. The tragic events of September 11th resurrected a since of patriotism within the United States. The result has been a desire to display the American flag in front of homes, office buildings, and everywhere possible.

The historic tale of Betsy Ross painstakingly sewing the first American flag is widely known. However, many of the details of that extraordinary event, along with the circumstances leading up to it have been overlooked. To begin with, the colonies had adopted several flags as a representation of their new American beliefs. The “Don’t Tread on Me” version incorporated red and white stripes with a snake across it. A popular option used by George Washington, which signified the unification of the colonies, was similar to the British emblem. Washington raised this particular version at Prospect Hill. The Loyalists misinterpreted the emblem as a sign of defeat.

The confusion that ensued prompted General George Washington, Colonel George Ross, and Robert Morris, along with other key members of the Congressional Committee, to enlist the aid of Mrs. Ross. At the time Betsy Ross was running an upholstery business. She had completed several assignments for General Washington, and he was familiar with her work, as well as being a personal friend. They provided her with a crude drawing of the appointed American flag and commissioned her to complete the work. She began the assignment in early May and completed the job in late May or early June.

The American flag was raised on July 4, 1776 to commemorate the birth of a new nation. Independence Day offers all United States citizens an opportunity to remember the hardships that our forefathers endured to gain our freedom. The American flag has been an inspiration to citizens of the United States, since its inception. Francis Scott Key composed our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, after his relief at seeing the American flag flying at dawn following a brutal battle, during the War of 1812. The symbolic raising of this national symbol has marked other moments in United States history. Soldier’s lifted the “Colors” to signify victory and determination after the Battle of Iwo Jima; in the same way, the first astronauts to walk on the moon placed “Old Glory” within its powdery surface.

This type of patriotism waned in the late 20th century, but was brought back after tragedy gripped our nation on September 11, 2001. American flags are becoming a hot commodity and displaying “Old Glory” should be conducted with dignity. After that horrific day, citizens rose up and began displaying “Old Glory” throughout the land. A desire to perpetuate this newfound pride meant individuals wanted to keep the display up 24 hours a day. In order to maintain respect, the Colors must be properly illuminated.

Our country has seen dark days within its history and recent past, however the undying resolve of its citizens continues to surprise its foes. The American flag stands for the strength and commitment that is within all the country’s citizens.
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