July 4, 2012
Old Glory will be flying high all across the United States today on this most American of holidays, the Fourth of July. On this date in 1776, the Continental Congress ratified a statement now known simply as the Declaration of Independence, and the colonists’ battle for freedom from British rule, already under way, escalated to the point of no return. The world was never the same.
The American flag with the original 13 stars and 13 stripes, sewn by Betsy Ross in May of 1776, evolved into today’s American flag, with 50 stars now complementing the original seven red and six white stripes. A resolution by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, resolved that the “flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
Along with today’s picnics and fireworks, flags will be in great abundance today all across the United States. While you may see flags flying at your local post offices, schools, city halls and the like on a regular basis, you will no doubt see a great many more displays of the Stars and Stripes today.
But did you know that in addition to July Fourth, there are 18 other official flag-flying days in 2012? Ten of them have already passed, and eight remain after today.
For the flag fans among us, the official 2012 flag-flying days were/are:
Jan. 1 – New Year’s Day
Jan. 16 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Feb. 12 – Lincoln’s Birthday
Feb. 20 – Presidents’ Day
Feb. 22 – Washington’s Birthday
May 13 – Mother’s Day
May 19 – Armed Forces Day
May 28 – Memorial Day
June 14 – Flag Day
June 17 – Father’s Day
July 4 – Independence Day (Happy Fourth of July!)
Sept. 3 – Labor Day
Sept. 11 – Patriot Day
Oct. 8 – Columbus Day (also known as Indigenous People’s Day)
Nov. 6 – Election Day
Nov. 11 – Veterans’ Day
Nov. 22 – Thanksgiving Day
Dec. 7 – Pearl Harbor Day
Dec. 25 – Christmas Day
This information was obtained from a wallet-sized information card I received from the Disabled American Veterans. Whatever your politics, especially in this election year, it’s important to remember that throughout American history, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of all political stripes have defended and in too many cases died fighting for the principles that defined the “Spirit of ’76."
Democrats, Republicans, Federalists, anti-Federalists, Whigs, Libertarians, liberals, conservatives, moderates, independents and more have served the highest ideals of the United States with valor, honor and distinction, even as the madness and horrors of war surrounded and bombarded them. As we celebrate our nation’s birthday today, let us keep in mind that even in this time of national discord and unrest, there remains – and must remain – a shared foundational unity.
May life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness be yours this Fourth of July, and beyond.
If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.
SOURCES AND RESOURCES:
Disabled American Veterans
Wikipedia Entry on the Declaration of Independence
Wikipedia Entry on the Flag of the United States
Job skills programs good news for veterans, DAV, June 2012
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