Celebrating Flag Day

By Ambassador Callista L. Gingrich

In 1949, Congress approved a joint resolution formally establishing June 14 as Flag Day to commemorate the day that the Stars and Stripes became the official symbol of the United States of America.

Nearly 250 years ago, on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress in Philadelphia adopted a resolution to establish the official flag of our Republic. Embroiled in the Revolutionary War, with the drafting of the Articles of Confederation underway, the Founders shifted their focus to pass the Flag Act that read: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The adoption of the Stars and Stripes as our young nation’s flag was a powerful symbol to the world, representing the unity, determination, and grit of the American colonists as they faced the formidable British Empire.

Old Glory’s predecessor, the Grand Union Flag, shared many similarities with the flag of Great Britain. The colonists, however, needed to distance themselves from their mother country with a new design to signify the start of a new nation.

During the summer of 1777, the fate of the nation, and the success of the revolution were anything but secure. As the Library of Congress wrote, “In 1777, the British were still in excellent position to quell the rebellion. Had it not been for a variety of mistakes, they probably could have won the war.”

As America’s destiny hung in the balance, the flag symbolized the service and sacrifices made by its founding generation. In the centuries that followed, through many wars and conflicts, our flag grew with our country. By 1960, the flag included 50 stars, one for each state in the Union. Since it was first raised, Old Glory has flown to remind us of the American patriots who bravely served our country to ensure its freedom.

In times of triumph and tragedy, celebration and mourning, the American flag has waved as a reminder of our identity as “one nation under God.”

As President Donald Trump wrote in his first Flag Day Proclamation on June 14, 2017, “Wherever Old Glory flies, we remember the six United States Marines raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planting it on the surface of the moon, and our firefighters elevating it above Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks of September 11.”

As we celebrate Flag Day, let us remember the freedom, liberty, and unity that it symbolizes and the generations of American patriots who have dedicated their lives to uphold, defend, and protect our nation.

For more commentary from Callista Gingrich, visit Gingrich360.com.