It likely appears on your calendar and while it’s been celebrated for more than 100 years it is NOT an official Federal Holiday.  Today is Flag Day which was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 as a way to celebrate the Stars and Stripes which remains a symbol of freedom and justice.

The flag itself has changed through the years, going back to 1776 with what is called the “Betsy Ross” flag featuring 13 stars for the newly-formed 13 states.  The current red, white and blue edition has been around since Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959.

The flag is the symbol that represents all of us who are Americans regardless of race, religion, ethnicity and all the other things that tend to divide us in these troubled times.  When you display it you’re letting everyone know that you are proud of your country even though there may be things you disagree with.  Only in America does the Constitution protect those who burn and desecrate the flag which would likely result in death or imprisonment in many other places around the globe.  That’s the freedom we have and should not take for granted.

Flag in the gym at Point Pleasant Beach HS
Flag in the gym at Point Pleasant Beach HS

The flag flying high is a familiar site on many government, office and school buildings and it can also be flown to signify a historical moment.  The picture of Marines raising the flag during the Battle for Iwo Jima in 1945 is one of the most iconic ever and most of us remember three firefighters raising a tattered and torn flag above the rubble of the World Trade Center on 9/11. The flag can unite us even in our darkest hour.

Many have died defending the American flag in one way or another and today we can show our respect and appreciation by displaying a flag outside our home.  We are the land of the free and home of the brave and the stars and stripes remain our symbol of that.

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