Throughout the United States, several historic homes have become symbols of America’s rich heritage and the patriots that helped shape the country. These landmarks provided a backdrop to the American Revolution, housing the fathers and mothers of America as they struggled to gain independence and freedom.
As these homes became synonymous with American patriotism, many tourists have made a pilgrimage to visit these illustrious estates. Today, these homes are kept in pristine condition, oftentimes decorated with an American flag in honor of their legacies.
The Betsy Ross House
In June of 1776, Betsy Ross reportedly sewed the first American flag in her Philadelphia home, located several blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Over two centuries later, the Betsy Ross House has become one of the most frequented Philadelphia landmarks.
William Canby, one of Ross’ grandsons, first brought affidavits of his grandmother’s involvement with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1870, breathing life into American lore. According to legend, when George Washington—then Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army—first approached Ross to create the flag, she allegedly altered the design to incorporate five-pointed stars in order to increase sewing efficiency.
Despite some recent dispute regarding Betsy Ross’ role in the creation of the American flag, she invariably remains linked to its birth in the minds of most Americans. Accordingly, her home has been preserved and restored, standing as a testament to the legend. The house still flies a beautiful Betsy Ross flag in honor of Ross’ patriotism.
Over the past two centuries, the American flag has become the most enduring of national symbols, coming to represent the pinnacle of American values and heritage. Today, millions of people fly American flags to honor the U.S., standing unified to support the nation and instilling a sense of patriotism in all who see the American flag.
The White House
Perhaps the most famous patriotic home in American history is the White House, which has accommodated every U.S. president since 1800. Located in Washington D.C., the estate provides the primary workplace for the President and his staff.
The White House also plays host to foreign diplomats and leaders—as well as the American public—providing a symbolic bridge between America’s greatest office and the rest of the world. The building itself has had a storied history, undergoing extensive renovation in response to needs and damages over the years.
During the War of 1812, the British Army set fire to the estate during the infamous Burning of Washington, when the British attacked the capital of the United States. President Monroe and his staff were forced to flee the capital during this time, but they began reconstruction immediately afterward.
The public’s accessibility to the White House has remained one of the building’s unique functions over the years. Following its construction, the White House was open to the public until early in the 20th century.
The estate still plays host to an annual Fourth of July celebration to honor military veterans. On a day when it becomes a necessity to own an American flag, the President promotes patriotism and civic responsibility to honor America’s birth. The White House staff provides a barbecue and concert on the South Lawn, and at night, fireworks can be seen lighting the sky behind the flag that flies on top of the White House.
Arlington House and the Robert E. Lee Memorial
The Arlington House, formerly called the Curtis-Lee Mansion, once housed Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It also eventually became the site for the Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1802, George Washington’s adopted son originally commissioned the mansion’s construction. However, similar to the White House, plans for the building were interrupted by the War of 1812. The mansion was not completed until 1818, in large part due to a materials shortage that resulted from the burning of Washington during the war.
For the handful of years prior to the American Civil War, Robert E. Lee resided in the mansion. However, Arlington National Cemetery was created on the grounds, in part to keep Lee from returning to his house following the war.
In the years since, many Americans have traveled to see the Arlington estate, both to pay their respects to the cemetery and the memorial. The site appears particularly majestic on Memorial Day, when American flags grace the graves of fallen American soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery. Ultimately, this site remains a tribute to the valor of those who gave their lives defending the equality of all Americans.
While the U.S. has become a country that promotes the values of freedom, equality and opportunity, these historic landmarks serve as a reminder of the hurdles the nation once overcame. To those who visit, these houses also serve as memorials to the individuals who played a role in America’s liberation.
Witnessing the splendor of these estates—as they fly American flags in symbolic unity—inevitably causes a sense of pride and nationalism to fill all onlookers. In the decades to come, these houses will continue to mark periods of great triumph in America history. Furthermore, they will continue to inspire generations of visitors who come in appreciation of America’s legacy.