Flags to be at Half Staff in honor of Supreme Court Justice Scalia

halfstaffThe White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

February 13, 2016

Presidential Proclamation: Death of Antonin Scalia

As a mark of respect for Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the United States, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, including section 7 of title 4, United States Code, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, on the day of interment. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

BARACK OBAMA

History of the American Flag

Love America? Want to fly the American flag? The American flag has been around for over 200 years and is one of the hallmarks of America that brings pride to the nation. The American flag represents so many things to so many different people, and on a variety of special occasions you’ll see it flying high to commemorate these special events.

When flying the American flag, you may not think about the events which led up to what it is today. For those who are interested in the history of the American flag, the following is a historic guide of how the American flag became the pride of this great nation today.

How the American Flag Was Born

On the 14th of June, 1777, the Continental Congress first passed an act which established the creation of an official flag which represented the newly found nation. The resolution stated: “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.” President Harry S. Truman declared that the 14th of June was officially Flag Day.

The Design of the America Flag

When the American flag was first designed, it was first decreed that there should be a stripe and star for each of the thirteen states which represented the original thirteen colonies at that time. The color choices of the flag are said to be chosen because:

  • Red represents valor, fervency, and zeal.
  • White represents hope, cleanliness of life, purity, and rectitude of conduct.
  • Blue represents sincerity, loyalty, justice, truth, and heaven, for reverence to God.

The stars, on the other hand, symbolized sovereignty, dominion, and lofty aspirations.

Within the union, the constellation of stars represents one for each state, and it is emblematic of the Federal Constitution. Washington interpreted the symbolism of the flag as “We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty.”

Timeline of Flag Changes throughout the Years

Over the centuries between 1777 to 1960, there were several more acts passed by Congress which officially changed the arrangement, design, and shape of the American flag. This was to allow for the addition of each new stripe and star that represented the admission of each extra new state that was formed. The following timeline shows these changes throughout the years:

  • January 13th, 1794 Act – Provided for fifteen stars and fifteen stripes after May 1795.
  • April 4th, 1818 Act – Provided for thirteen stripes and one star to be added to the flag for each state after the admission and recognition of a new state on the 4th of July. This was signed by President Monroe.
  • June 24th, 1912 – President Taft’s Executive Order established the proportions of the American flag and provided the arrangement of six horizontal rows of eight stars each. A single point on each of the stars had to be facing upwards.
  • January 3rd, 1959 – President Eisenhower’s Executive Order provided for the star arrangement on the flag to be in seven rows of seven stars in a vertical and horizontal manner.
  • August 21st, 1959 – President Eisenhower’s Executive Order allowed for the arrangement of nine rows of stars that staggered across the flag horizontally and eleven star rows which staggered vertically.

Origin and Interesting Facts About the
American Flag – Old Glory

The American flag, also known as Old Glory, has seen a very colorful past life. The following are some interesting facts about its origin and life from years gone by:

  • The origin of the very first American flag that was constructed is unknown. There are many historians who believe that a Congressman from New Jersey, Francis Hopkinson, designed the flag, while seamstress Betsy Ross from Philadelphia sewed it together.
  • Older than the Tricolor of France and Britain’s Union Jack flag, the American flag is the third oldest flag in the world associated with the National Standards. On August 3rd, the American flag was first flown from Fort Stanwix, New York. From August 6th, 1777, the flag was under fire in the Battle of Oriskany.
  • On September 11, 1777, the flag was first carried into battle at Brandywine.
  • French Admiral, LaMotte Piquet, was the first foreign person who saluted the American flag on February 13, 1778 off Quiberon Bay.
  • The nickname “Old Glory” was originally given to an American flag that was 10 ft. x 17 ft. by its possessor, Massachusetts sea captain William Driver of the brig Charles Doggett. Today the name is one of the more popular nickname choices of the American flag. The flag owned by William Driver is said to have survived many defacing attempts during the Civil War. Once the war ended, Driver was allowed to fly Old Glory over the Tennessee Statehouse. Today, Drivers’ Old Glory is now located at the National Museum of American History as a primary artefact. It was last displayed at an exhibition in Tennessee in 2006 with permission of the Smithsonian.
  • The National Museum of American History has taken it upon themselves to start a long-term preservation project of the 1814 enormous garrison flag which survived Fort McHenry of Baltimore’s 25-hour shelling by British troops. This garrison flag helped in the creation of “The Star-Spangled Banner” which was an inspiration by Francis Scott Key.

Over time the flag has become weakened and soiled and, in December 1998, was removed from the museum. This long-term preservation effort to save the deteriorating flag began in June 1999 and still continues to this day. Today you’ll find the flag stored in a special low-oxygen and light-filtered chamber at a 10-degree angle. It is specially examined and monitored periodically by specialist at a microscopic level to detect any signs of damage and decay within each individual fiber.

Inspirational Creations Inspired by the American Flag

Today there are a few places in the USA where the American flag is flown 24/7. This is due to law or by presidential proclamation. These places include:

  • The White House – Washington DC
  • Flag House Square – Baltimore, Maryland
  • National Monument and Historic Shrine, Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland
  • United States customs of ports
  • United States Marine Corps Memorial, Arlington, Virginia
  • National Memorial Arch grounds in Valley Forge State Park, Pennsylvania
  • Green of the Town, Lexington, Massachusetts

Inspirational Creations Inspired by the American Flag

The American flag has been a great inspiration to many over the years. Some notable inspirations include:

  • The Pledge of Allegiance – The Pledge of Allegiance was inspired in 1892 by Francis Bellamy and James B. Upham. A magazine called The Youth’s Companion was the first place it was published.
  • The Star-Spangled Banner – The Star-Spangled Banner was written by amateur poet Francis Scott Key on Sept 14, 1814, and it was inspired by the American flag flying over Fort McHenry, Baltimore. In 1931 it officially became the USA’s national anthem.

On Distant Shores and Beyond

The American Flag has been in many different places, over the years; however, some notable places the American flag has been in history include:

  • Mount Everest – 1963. Barry Bishop placed the flag at the very top after an exhausting climb.
  • Fort Nassau – 1778. On January 28, 1778, the American flag first flew high over foreign territory on the Bahama islands at Nassau. Fort Nassau was captured by America in the war for independence.
  • Fort Derne, Libya – 1805. The American flag was flown for the 2nd time in overseas territories over Fort Derne in Libya on the Tripoli shores.
  • North Pole – 1909. Robert Peary was the first person who placed the American flag at the North Pole. The flag had been sewn by his wife. He also cut up another American flag, of which he left pieces behind as he traveled the harsh conditions. He is the only person in history who has been honored for cutting up the U.S. flag.
  • The Moon – 1969. During the Apollo program, the American flag was placed on the moon of each of the six manned landings. Neil Armstrong was the first to fly the American flag in space in July 1969 when he placed it on the moon.

Displaying the Stars and Stripes: American Flag Etiquette

Displaying the American flag does come with some “rules.” Some American flag etiquette rulesthat you should know include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Sunrise to sunset is when the flag is generally displayed. When raised, the flag should be raised up using a brisk movement. When lowered it should be done ceremoniously. The flag shouldn’t be flown in inclement weather.
  • Weather permitting, the American flag should be displayed on all holidays and each day near or on main public administration building institutions. On election days it should be placed near every polling building, and near every schoolhouse during the school days.
  • When isplayed in a vertical orientation or flat against a window or wall, the “union”of stars should be to the left of the observer and be at the highest level possible.
  • When the flag is lowered or raised during a ceremony, or when it passes in a parade, everyone should place their right hand over their heart while facing the flag.
  • The American flag shouldn’t touch anything beneath it, nor should it be dipped toward an object or person.
  • It should never be used as clothing or to carry things.
  • It shouldn’t ever touch the ground.
  • It shouldn’t be flown upside down unless in a dire emergency.
  • You should never get it dirty or use it as a cover in the rain.
  • It should always fall free and shouldn’t be tied.
  • The American flag shouldn’t be burnt maliciously or drawn on, as it can be seen as an act of defiance against America.

Special Holidays to Fly the Flag Freely

Throughout the year, there are many different days which allow you to fly the American flag freely and proudly. These days include:

  • New Year’s Day – January 1
  • Inauguration Day – January 20 (every four years)
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. – Third Monday in January
  • President’s Day – 3rd Monday in February
  • Easter Sunday – Varying, depending on year
  • Army Day (Navy only) – April 6
  • Birthday of Thomas Jefferson (army only) –April 13
  • Pan American Day (embassies in Latin America) – April 14
  • Loyalty Day/Law Day (Army only) – May 1
  • Mother’s Day– 2nd Sunday in May
  • Peace Officers Memorial Day – May 15
  • Armed Forces Day – 3rd Saturday in May
  • National Maritime Day (Army & Navy only – May 22
  • Memorial Day – Last Monday in May
  • Flag Day – June 14
  • Father’s Day (Army only) – 3rd Sunday in June
  • Independence Day – July 4
  • Korean War Armistice Day – July 27
  • National Aviation Day (Army only) – August 19
  • Labor Day – 1st Monday in September
  • Patriot’s Day – September 11
  • Constitution Day – September 17
  • POW/MIA Recognition Day –3rd Friday in September
  • Gold Star Mother’s Day (Army only) – Last Sunday in September
  • Columbus Day (October 12 at Foreign Service posts) – 2nd Monday in October
  • Navy Day (Navy and Marine Corps only) – October 27
  • Marine Corps Birthday (Marine Corps only) – November 10
  • Veterans Day – November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day – 4th Thursday in November
    Pearl Harbor Day – December 7

The Importance of Flying the American Flag

Flying the American flag is important. Some of the reasons why it should be flown include that it:

  • Represents respect for those who have fallen to make America a free country.
  • Represents unity, respect, freedom, idealism, patriotism, and independence as a free nation.
  • Reminds those who live in America of the values of the country and nation.
  • Helps everyone remember what we all fight to achieve in our lives.

The American Flag Today

Today the flag of the United States of America holds deep and noble significance to the nation and to the entire world. That message is of individual liberty, patriotism, idealism, and national independence. The flag doesn’t represent a royal house or a reigning family, but the 300+ million free indiviuals who are welded together to create one strong, inseparable, and united nation that comes together not only with community interest, but the interests of the rest of the world. This nation is distinguished from other nations for its commitment to clear individual citizen conception of their privileges, their duties, their rights, and their obligations.

The American flag also represents that of the spirit of Liberty, the freedom of human rights, and the opportunity of equal life in the pursuit of happiness. To many, the American flag is a beacon of hope for those who may have lost their way during difficult times. It brings everyone together from different ethnic groups. It also encompasses a rich and vibrant history of struggle, tragedy, heroism, success, and freedom of those before us who altered their lives to make our lives and living environment what it is today.

The flag first rose along the Atlantic seaboard over thirteen states, which featured a population of over 3 million. Today it now flies over all fifty states, extending over great islands and across the continent. Heroes died for it, and citizens have advanced it in modern times. It brings all Americans together with honor and loyalty.

Conclusion


The American flag is a powerful symbol that is seen around the world. Backed by a powerful country, government, and people’s passion, America is a great nation that brings hope to those who have little left.

If you’re visiting or planning to live in America, why not take the time to know the history behind the flag that’s flown? Celebrate all it has to offer and what was sacrificed for it to become what it is today. Why not fly the flag high when you visit America? So, do you have your own U.S.-made American flag?

By Land or By Sea: Flags Are More Than Decorations

sail-flagThe open ocean has undeniable appeal, especially in today’s hectic, loud, busy world. The simplicity of a valiant sailing ship running before a brisk wind in silent elegance encapsulates a glorious idea of escape. One does not often find a quiet haven disturbed only by the rush of wind and water and the crying of seabirds. Even better, when it enables you to explore the greater world around you in unexpected and glorious ways. Full sails and salt spray hearken back to the earliest adventurers and traders looking upon the mysterious shores of a New World.

Modern day sailing is an interesting and challenging art that requires both physical effort and careful study—and is becoming more and more popular as a delightful warm-weather hobby. The perennial popularity of the Boston Sailing School on the Charles River in Massachusetts is testimony; children of all ages learn to set sail and love the open water. Each year hundreds of young people grapple with every level of challenge, from beginners to advanced racing techniques, and even nighttime navigation.

The Eastern Seaboard teems with opportunities for unique adventure, far from the dubious delights of fast food and social media. Sailing, it seems, can be for almost everyone, as these sea-going beauties come in all sizes. Even tiny solo sailboats command as much respect as luxurious multi-bedroom yachts when it comes to sheer accomplishment and skill. In one respect, however, they all have a beautifully uniting feature: They all fly colors.

A flag is an identity at sea, a statement of who you are and where you are from. One flies the flag of one’s country in pride and honor, but there is also a vibrant, beautiful language of smaller flags utilizing an internationally recognized code for communication. Using 26 pennons to represent the letters of the alphabet that are described in NATO phonetic terms (A=alpha, B=bravo, C=charlie, etc.) these small, brilliant flags help international ships pass quick, efficient messages.

Making the whole concept a little more complex is the idea that each of those letter flags also has a specific meaning in and of itself, so “A” is also “diver down, keep clear.” A celebration of Tall Ships would hardly be the same without the brilliant buntings training from the mast. It’s also fascinating to see the messages they post for other ships to see—a conversation right in front of us that only very few know how to interpret.

Luckily enough, AmericanFlags.com carries the entire 40 piece package of these International Code flags. The total 26 piece alphabet is supplemented with the complete eleven piece set of numeric flags, an answer flag, and three “spacers” to help with signal clarity. Though the mastery of this art requires diligence and persistence, the effect of sailing into port with the Stars and Stripes billowing and a carefully worded “Happy 4th of July” has an undeniable cachet. Not only does a sailing vessel look more festive with international code flags, they also instill a sense of pride in one’s self for mastering a unique form of communication. A little bit of satisfied smugness could be justified from such a display of unusual artistry.

Carefully constructed of long wearing, double seamed nylon, these International Code flags are available in six different sizes to suit the magnitude of your vessel. American made and tested by AmericanFlags.com themselves, these flags are guaranteed to last and stay beautiful. Appropriate ropes and fittings are included with each set, as is a durable storage duffle to keep your collection safe and organized.

Colors are brilliantly dyed, fade-resistant, and of internationally approved combinations and patterns. Designed to withstand the harsh conditions found at sea, this attractive collection can also be used to add flair and identity to the homes of proud Navy families, and is a beautiful, patriotic addition to the Stars and Stripes.

Flags, Heraldry and the Origins of the Banners We Fly

coat-of-armsToday, many families carefully research and proudly display the crests and mottoes of their ancestors, and pore through family trees to trace the genealogy of their families. A sense of belonging is a basic need, and knowing our origins is a way to connect with those who came before us. While still feeling American first, knowing the nationality of our ancestors helps with that sense of belonging, and many Americans proudly recognize and celebrate the cultures from which they came. Celebrating St. Patrick’s day decked out in green or having a margarita on Cinco de Mayo, we can be proud of where we came from. Flying a flag in honor of our family’s origins is a special way to demonstrate that sense of belonging, and AmericanFlags.com makes this easy with its offerings of a wide range of international flags.

While learning about one’s own origins, it will become apparent that many national flags seem to have common origins, with many colors, patterns, and emblems all held in common. As with the genealogy of people, national flags have a genealogy—a history of their own.

The genesis of the national flag can be found in the battlefields of antiquity and in the pageantry of the middle ages. The popular image of the medieval knight in shining armor evokes a sense of romance, of valor, of men at arms fighting for the honor of a fair maiden. A closer look at the medieval knight though will show that their equipment was not just designed to protect them, but also to identify them upon the battlefield or tournament list.

A unique art form, known as heraldry, was developed for the rigorous rules that developed as this grew. Far from just an art of pageantry, the combinations of colors, patterns, shapes, selections of animals and other objects formed a complex language of identification. In battle it helped separate friend from foe, and in a tournament it helped the wearer to stand out from the crowd.

In the heraldic tradition, different colors and symbols came to embody different meanings. For example, to display a bear on one’s heraldry was to portray strength, the rose to symbolize beauty, while the axe implied duty. The colors, too, carried meaning, and there were strict rules about which colors could be placed next to each other. Even in medieval times the red, white, and blue of our own Stars and Stripes represented ideas of strength, innocence, and dedication.

In fact, the rules of heraldry first articulated in the middle ages carry through to the modern day and have direct bearing on the development of modern flags. Even today, flags must follow the strict guidelines of principles such as “the Rule of Tincture,” and Colleges of Heralds still exist to ensure that new heraldic devices follow the antique rules. For example, when Kate Middleton married Prince William and became the Duchess of Cambridge, it was necessary for her to be granted a coat of arms.

Her device was created to represent her, her family and its impending connection to the Royal Family of Great Britain. It consists of three acorns separated with gold and white chevrons and contains “jokes” that only those versed in heraldry would likely appreciate. The acorns were to represent the Duchess and her siblings. The gold chevron refers to her mother’s maiden name, Goldsmith, and the division down the center between blue and red is a pun on her surname Middle-ton. There are some basic concepts of medieval heraldry.

The influence of medieval heraldry extends beyond royal families. Many of these archaic laws of heraldry are still found in design today, from advertising to clothing trends. As with the original meaning of colors carrying down to modern flags, specific emblems from medieval heraldry continue to appear in modern logos. For example, a cross that once represented an off-shoot of the infamous Knights Templar is found in the logos of the Portuguese and Brazilian national Soccer Teams. The Emblem of the Order of Christ, an offshoot of the Knights Templar, is still used today in crests of both the Brazilian and Portuguese National Soccer Teams.

As a modern American, the world of the medieval knight and his heraldry can seem so far away as to be of little meaning. However, while time moves on, and particular politicians may come and go, ideas endure, and a flag, more than anything else, represents an idea. The historical flag collection at AmericanFlags.com offers a sampling of such flags.

Just as fashion will disappear only to find itself in vogue again, many Americans find themselves sharing ideas with our Revolutionary forefathers. In this light, Gadsden’s famed “Don’t Tread on Me” banner once again finds itself flown proudly by Americans seeking to ensure our government does not overreach its bounds and tread on the freedoms so many Americans have given so much to protect.

Raising a flag in your front yard for all to see evokes that ancient sense of belonging, of marking what is precious and what belongs to us as individuals and as a nation. Perhaps without even being aware of it, we take our place in the line of those who display character through the colors we fly. A beautiful, well-made flag highlights an American home as a bastion of those virtues we share and hold dear, and the carefully constructed, made in the USA offerings of AmericanFlags.com will make sure that your respect for the traditions embodied in the flag you fly are as evident as the meaning they evoke.

Honoring Our Fallen: The American Flag Presentation

military-funeralEvery day men and women join our Armed Services, some making the ultimate sacrifice in laying down their lives. The worst moment in any spouse, parent, or child’s life is seeing the uniformed soldier walk up to your front door, knowing exactly what it is they are about to tell you. You heart races, a churning in your stomach, knowing the person you love most in the world has given their life to protect our country and freedom.

For the comrades, the most difficult duty they ever perform is driving to the home of the fallen soldier’s parents. Once they greet the family, they present a tri-folded American flag to commemorate the fallen soldier. The soldier’s comrades will say something along the lines of, “Your son/daughter fought honorably. On behalf of the President of the United States, please accept this flag as a gift in appreciation for the sacrifice your son/daughter has made.”

To honor these heroes, the military has an established a beautiful burial ceremony, with slight differences depending on the branch of armed forces in which the fallen fought and died. The wishes of the fallen soldier and the family are always taken into consideration, to ensure the preferred religious requirements are included in the ceremony.

As a military funeral begins, the flags are lowered to half-mast, in honor of the soldier who died. This gesture is often comforting to the family, knowing their departed loved one died for the country they loved, and that their memory will live on in every American by honoring his or her sacrifice.

Most funerals are presided over by a priest, minister, pastor or other religious figure, and they will speak comforting words about the fallen hero, including appropriate excerpts that are beautiful and heartening. In a military funeral, some things remain the same across the different branches of service.

Traditionally, the American flag is laid across the casket, with the blue stars over the heart (left side) of the fallen hero. Often, after the religious part of the ceremony has completed, there will be a 21 gun salute, while another soldier plays “Taps” on the trumpet. This is the most saddening part of any funeral, as the notes played pull at your heartstrings like nothing else will.

While Taps is being played, officers from the deceased’s branch of service will take the edges of the flag and begin the 13 folds, which, since the inception of this tradition, have developed multiple meanings. The most common words spoken by the officers are:

The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for, as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for, in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.

The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered in to the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.

When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God we Trust.”

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today. You can read more scripts for the folding of the American flag.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the flag is presented to the next of kin, often the parents, spouse, or child of the fallen hero. Depending on the branch of the Armed Services in which the deceased served, the phrase the officer says to the family upon presenting the flag may change a bit. Below are the comforting words of appreciation used, courtesy of Military Salute:

U.S. Air Force: “On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of (Service Member’s rank and name).”

U.S. Army: “This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.”

U.S. Coast Guard: “On behalf of the President of the United States, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s service to Country and the Coast Guard.”

U.S. Marine Corps: “On behalf of the President of the United States, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s service to Country and Corps.”

U.S. Navy: “On behalf of the President of the United States and the Chief of Naval Operations, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s service to this Country and a grateful Navy.”

These ceremonies are extremely emotional and often come too soon in a soldier’s life. The best thing anyone can do is be sure to use a flag made by Americans, for Americans, to honor an American soldier. You can find the highest quality flags available at AmericanFlags.com, founded in Long Island, New York just one month after 9/11.

The Stars and Stripes

stars-and-stripes

At its most basic level, a flag is simply fabric, some color, maybe a pattern, and some stitching to pull it all together. However, a flag is not the sum of the materials that make it up; the worth of a flag is in the sum of ideas that it represents. While Betsy Ross understood that the cloth she fabricated into 13 stars, and 13 stripes was to represent a burgeoning nation, she could not have foreseen what that banner would come to represent, what would become the fabric of the nation that was coming to life.

Rather, flying over the White House, or your own house, our American flag is now a universal symbol of liberty, freedom, and democracy the world over. Rather, raised by valiant Marines over Iwo Jima in that most iconic of images, or raised by your own family on the fourth of July, the Stars and Stripes is flown with pride, pride in our nation, in our noble history, and our present role as the guardians of liberty around the globe.

Crafted and first hoisted in rebellion during troubled times, the pigments and patterns have long encapsulated the elements of what it means to be American: pride, honesty, and the value of hard work. Strong and flexible, the very threads of the American flag reflect the complex interwoven mixture of cultures and values that have produced our unique and multifaceted national character.

While initially speaking of the colors of our Nation’s Great Seal, the shared colors of the Stars and Stripes have, over time, become enriched with meaning, expanding on our national legacy, each significant for the virtues and values they represent within our republic: White for the purity and innocence of a new nation; red to represent the valor, hardiness, and commitment that would be necessary to defend the republic; and blue to embody the vigilance and justice necessary to ensure the perseverance of the noble experiment the nation has built and sustained. A nation as Lincoln so eloquently stated, which was conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Is there any wonder why our flag commands such strong emotions and such respect across the globe?

At AmericanFlags.com we pride ourselves on our selection of high quality American flags, made right here in the USA. We offer American flags made by Americans, for Americans, right here at home. You’ll also find flagpoles, and a wide array of other supplies to allow you and your family to demonstrate the pride you feel toward our great land. Holidays like the Fourth of July are, of course, ideal times to display your patriotism; however, your patriotic spirit need not wait for America’s birthday to be on display! Displaying the flag shows your true American spirit year round—that same spirit which has made America the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave for more than two centuries.

Along with our wide array of items to show your pride in our great land, AmericanFlags.com also offers a complete line of historic flags, military flags, world flags, state and city flags, along with flags advertising religious and sports affiliations for indoor and outdoor use. You won’t find a more comprehensive selection of quality flags anywhere else.

Our wide range of offerings reflects the extensive history of flags, from their origin in ancient times, to their prominent role in medieval heraldry, and their continued use to reflect pride in one’s origins, or more mundane affiliations. Banners praising sports teams, promoting public events, schools, and companies can be seen everywhere. Soldiers the world over bear their country’s flag on their uniforms with grace and pride. Global sporting events such as The Olympic Games or The World Cup offer vivid visual cascades of countries represented through color. Though admirable for their simple beauty alone, these flags clearly proclaim a simple, wordless message: “I belong.”

It is no doubt this message of belonging that brought the flag to the prominent role it plays in society today. At AmericanFlags.com you’ll find what you need to display your own feelings of belonging.

How the American Flag Inspires Us

Great Moments in History When the Flag United Our Country

The American flag is a symbol with so many connotations, evoking so many powerful emotions, and it has served as a rallying point throughout American history. We fly it at half-mast when someone has died. We fly it with pride in our front yards. It is our crest that means freedom and home. During some of the most turbulent times in our rich past, the American flag has reignited hope, united opposing sides, and has said to the world, “We came, we saw, we conquered.”

birth-of-a-nation

One of the earliest images of the American flag is a painting that depicts Betsy Ross showing the prototype American flag to George Washington and some other gentlemen, who could be Congressmen. The painting is titled “Birth of a Nation.” While it is only legend, it is said that Washington visited Betsy Ross’ shop on many occasions and even commissioned her to sew some of his own ruffled shirts.

When it came time to come up with a flag design for our new nation, legend has it that Washington and fellow Congressmen went to Ross and asked her to take on the task. Fact for thought: It is proven that she had sewn many colors for Pennsylvania state’s ships, so it isn’t hard to believe that she would have been asked to design and sew a flag for a much more important need.

While it is only legend, with many historians proving it cannot be true, it is still one that gives pride to every American, knowing the creation of our flag. We believe the legend because it is heartwarming to feel we know the story of how the roots of our country were planted.

Next is a famous battle that became a decisive fight in the Spanish-American War known as The Battle of San Juan Hill, or San Juan Heights. This running heights just east of Santiago, Cuba was one of the bloodiest battles of the war, but also the most famous victory of the Rough Riders. Their commander was none other than the future president, Theodore Roosevelt.

There is documentation of this valiant battle, a firsthand account from Richard Harding Davis who was a reporter and present on this no-name hill in 1898. Writing about the charge up the hill, led by Colonel Roosevelt and General Hawkins, he describes,

“These two officers were notably conspicuous in the charge, but no one can claim

that any two men, or anyone man, was more brave or more daring, or showed

greater courage in that slow, stubborn advance than did any of the others . . .”

(Courtesy of http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/roughriders.htm)

Continuing his account, Davis writes about the charge up the hill, men fighting all along the way, and concluding with this detailed description of the flag being hoisted to signify the taking of San Juan Hill.

“They drove the yellow silk flags of the cavalry and the Stars and Stripes of their

country into the soft earth of the trenches, and then sank down and looked back

at the road they had climbed and swung their hats in the air.”

(Courtesy of http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/roughriders.htm)

The exhausted joy these men must have felt, knowing they survived and won, yet not knowing the picture of them surrounding the raised American flag would live on well over a century later.

During World War II in the Pacific arena, there was an incredible battle in which the U.S. Marines landed and captured the island of Iwo Jima. It could easily be argued that this image is the most powerful image in our entire history.

The Japanese were hunkered down in underground bunkers, with hidden artillery units and miles of tunnels connecting it all. For the Marines, it was like fighting a hornet’s nest. The Battle at Iwo Jima was one of the bloodiest of the war, where the casualties of Americans were higher in number than on Japan’s side. This is mostly due to the quantity of soldiers sent to Iwo Jima, in order to guarantee a win.

The Marines had naval support and the Air Force dominated the skies, raining bombs on the Japanese bunkers. On the 5th day of the battle, which only lasted a total of 36 days, a group of American soldiers made up of five Marines and one Navy combat corpsman, raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi. Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photo has become a symbol that is synonymous with World War II and the U.S Marine Corp.

A hauntingly similar photo, which elicits a strong emotional reaction ranging from anger, to sadness, to patriotism is the American flag-raising at Ground Zero, hoisted just hours after the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center Towers. Three fireman, standing about 20 feet off the ground on debris, raised the flag in a way that is so eerily reminiscent of the Iwo Jima photo.

The terrorist attacks inspired such fear and anger in the American people that it created a unity which was unparalleled in this generation. People from all around the world rose to the challenge of helping New York clean up and recover from this tragedy. The photo truly serves as a rallying point for a wave of patriotism that rippled not only through America, but the world.

With all of the emotions tied into the emblem of our nation, it seems almost blasphemy to think of purchasing one made in China or Taiwan. If you want an American flag to display in your yard, home, or anywhere else, for that matter, buy American. AmericanFlags.com, located on Long Island, New York, opened their doors shortly after the September 11 attacks. Check out our high-quality products made by Americans, for Americans.