June 14th (Flag Day): Why I Stand
As a third grader in elementary school, a lot of us savored the opportunities we had at that moment in our lives. Whether it was the feeling of having your permission slip signed by your parents to go to the zoo next week, or perhaps the pinnacle-reaching excitement of running freely down the halls of your school with a painted face and prize tickets during the anticipated end-of-the-year carnival. When the opportunity was provided, we instinctively followed our hearts.(Granted that our third grade instincts were not the best and had to inevitably go through the correcting stage.)
Interestingly, an opportunity I savored vividly was an assignment we had in class a few days before President’s Day; It was an assignment which required us to write a few sentences on what the U.S. flag meant to us. Outbursts of sighs filled the air, as many students contemplated the three day weekend and overlooked any potential assignments. Heck, I don’t blame them. After all, it was a long weekend which gave us a chance to eat more junk food and play Cops & Robbers all day until the street lights turned on and it was time to call it quits. I took this miniscule assignment as a favorable time to reflect on what I believe is the most powerful symbol of freedom the world has ever known.
Thereafter, I began the assignment with a gracious attitude. The criteria of the assignment made it effortless for me to complete it, as my patriotic spirit did all of the writing for me in a “snowball effect” type manner. I eloquently remembered my opening sentence to the assignment. It read: “The U.S. flag is a symbol of freedom and justice. No country will ever ruin that. Not even China.” Of course, my third grade mind interpreted this as the almighty work of Shakespeare. In fact, I still think that this opening sentence has some potential. But the point I’m trying to make is that throughout the years I have had this notion and it has substantially developed my loyalty.
Quick history facts about Flag Day:
– On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed a resolution “that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white on a blue field, representing the new constellation”.
– Bernard J. Cigrand, a Wisconsin schoolteacher, assigned his students in 1885 to write an essay on what the flag meant to them. He later lobbied to have congress declare it a national holiday.
– Presidents Wilson and Coolidge issued proclamations that June 14 be observed as Flag Day.
– It wasn’t until 1949 that Congress passed legislation and President Truman officially signed it into law.
– It’s not part of the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968, which if it was, would be observed as a federal holiday (no work).
Flag day is a day in which we give recognition to Old Glory. Not only at the sweet design, but the story it represents. When I glance at the U.S. flag, my mind inaugurates the history, legend and narratives which took place, which justifies the reason it stands and flies where I see it. It represents opportunities for not only its own citizens, but for individuals around the world with an aspiration to further themselves as much as possible; a land where you have the chance to make your dreams come true. That is why I stood every morning and recited the Pledge of Allegiance at school. I had a reason and desire to do it. That is when I perceived the ecstatic feeling of having my permission slip to go to the zoo. Every morning when it was time to stand. I did so with pride.