Happy Flag Day

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Today is to honor the birth of our flag, as the birthday of its adoption on June 14, 1777.  Betsy Ross gets a lot of credit, which may be undeserved. Declaration signer Francis Hopkins should receive more credit. Even so, the more important is that we consider what the flag represents and what military personnel have sacrificed to keep the flag moving forward.

Today we consider flags merely a symbol of the country.640px-Flag_of_the_United_States_at_the_Flint_Hills_Discovery_Center_in_Manhattan,_KS

Until the 20th century, they were so much more.

On battlefields for millennia, flags and standards were forms of communication. A general would communicate his location with his personal flag. This allowed runners to know where to find the general to deliver reports and obtain orders.

The flags of the nation were even more important on the battlefield. The soldiers would see whether his line was moving forward on the battlefield, indicating winning, or moving backward or falling, indicating losing.  An advancing flag inspired greater effort from the soldier. Consequently, if the flag bearer fell to enemy attack, it made sense for a soldier to drop his weapon to pick up the flag. One flag could inspire hundreds of soldiers to advance.  A musket was inaccurate and slow to reload. Bayonet charges were crucial.  Soldiers united in a bayonet charge could win the battle.  The flag served most effectively in showing the bayonet charge advance. Enemy soldiers seeing a bayonet charge led by the flag might run from the field.

The advancing flag gave soldiers courage, unity, and victory. Why would a flag not inspire a fevered passion among these soldiers?

So on this day we honor the US Flag not as a mere symbol or embodiment of simple historical facts such as the original thirteen colonies, the current number of states, or the blood lost in battle. We honor the US Flag for what it meant to those who sacrificed to make us free.