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Long May it Wave

“Resolved, that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the Union be thirteen stars, while in blue field representing the new Constellation.”

Those words of a resolution by the Second Continental Congress in 1777 adopted the flag of the United States of America. While the origin of the first flag is a bit murky, intertwined with fact and lore, it is widely acknowledged that in May of 1776 Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation officially establishing June 14 as Flag Day. And so we celebrate the flag this Saturday as we now have done for 98 years.

And on December 10, 1836 the Lone Star was born as President Sam Houston approved the first national flag of the Republic of Texas. We are a flag state here in Texas, although the Lone Star dominates the flagpoles throughout the year with Old Glory prominently displayed mostly only on national holidays. I draw no conclusions here, whether good or bad.

A long time ago I ran across a poem, “The Flag” by Julia Ward Howe that reminds us all what our flag is all about:

“Twas red with the blood of freemen and white with the fear of the foe, and the stars that fight in their courses ‘gainst tyrants its symbols know.”

We are a diverse country, and the flag has many meanings for us. And when I see Old Glory, proudly blowing in the breeze, a lump forms in my heart. I spent my early childhood years in displaced persons camps in Europe after World War II and today, as I have for more than six decades, I am thankful to live “in the land of the free and the home of the brave,” and be able to say, “that’s my flag too.”