I Am Your Flag


Written By Marine MSgt.Percy Webb

I am your Flag
I was born on June 14th, 1777.
I am more than just cloth shaped into design.
I am the refuge of the World's oppressed people.
I am the silent sentinel of Freedom.
I am the emblem of the greatest
sovereign nation on earth.

I am the inspiration for which American Patriots
gave their lives and fortunes.
I have led your sons into battle from Valley Forge
to the bloody swamps of Vietnam.
I walk in silence with each of your Honored Dead,
to their final resting place beneath the silent
White Crosses, row upon row.
I have flown through Peace and War,
Strife and Prosperity,
and amidst it all I have been respected.

My Red Stripes....symbolize the blood spilled
in defense of this glorious nation.
My White Stripes....signify the burning tears
shed by Americans who lost their sons.
My Blue Field....is indicative of God's heaven
under which I fly.
My Stars....clustered together, unify 50 states as one,
for God and Country.
"Old Glory" is my nickname,
and proudly I wave on high.

Honor me, respect me, defend me
with your lives and fortunes.
Never let my enemies tear down from my lofty position,
lest I never return.
Keep alight the fires of patriotism,
strive earnestly for the spirit of democracy.
Worship Eternal God and keep His Commandments,
and I shall remain the fortress of peace
and freedom for all mankind.
I am your Flag.

THE AMERICAN FLAG

Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

The 1st fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The 2nd fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th 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 time of war for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decaur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.

The 6th 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 the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th 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 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews' eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians' eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation's 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.

There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning. In the future, you'll see flags folded and now you will know why.

When to Display your flag

The flag should be displayed, from sunrise to sunset, on all days when the weather permits, especially on:

New Year's Day, January 1.
Inauguration Day.
Martin Luther King's Birthday, Third Monday in January.
Lincoln's Birthday.
Washington's Birthday, February 22.
Easter Sunday.
Mother's Day, Second Sunday in May.
Armed Forces Day, Third Saturday in May.
Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), Last Monday in May.
Flag Day, June 14th.
Independence Day, July 4th.
Labor Day, First Monday in September.
Constitution Day, September 17th.
Columbus Day, October 12th.
Veterans Day, November 11th.
Thanksgiving Day, Fourth Thursday in November.
Christmas Day, December 25th.
Election Days (various).
Federally observed dates of the above holidays which may be different from the actual dates.
Such days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States.
State and Local Holidays.
Your State Birthday (date of admission to the Union).

How to Display your flag

The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. They are:

The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal. The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speaker's desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.

The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard. The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations. The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind. The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything. When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously. The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary. When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner. Note: Most American Legion Posts regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony, often on Flag Day, June 14th. Contact your local American Legion Hall and inquire about the availability of this service.

Displaying the Flag Outdoors

When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union (stars) should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.

When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.

When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union (stars) to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.

When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right. The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger. No other flag ever should be placed above it. The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.

When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.

Raising and Lowering the Flag

The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.

The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.

Displaying the Flag Indoors

When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.

The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.

When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.

When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left.

Parading and Saluting the Flag

When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute. Have you been doing this at the parades this year?

The Salute

To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.

The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem

The Pledge of Allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting. When the National Anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.

The Flag in Mourning

To place the flag at half-staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half-staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset. The flag is to be flown at half-staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order. When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.

How to fold a flag:

http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/foldflag.htm

Story of "Old Glory''

The name "Old Glory" was first applied to the U.S. flag by a young sea captain who lived in Salem, Mass. On his twenty-first birthday, March 17, 1824, Capt. William Driver was presented a beautiful flag by his mother and a group of Salem girls. Driver was delighted with the gift. He exclaimed, "I name her 'Old Glory.'" Then Old Glory accompanied the captain on his many voyages.

Captain Driver quit the sea in 1837. He settled in Nashville, Tenn. On patriotic days he displayed Old Glory proudly from a rope extending from his house to a tree across the street. After Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861, Captain Driver hid Old Glory. He sewed the flag inside a comforter. When Union soldiers entered Nashville on February 25, 1862, Driver removed Old Glory from its hiding place. He carried the flag to the state capitol building and raised it.

Shortly before his death, the old sea captain placed a small bundle into the arms of his daughter. He said to her, "Mary Jane, this is my ship flag, Old Glory. It has been my constant companion. I love it as a mother loves her child. Cherish it as I have cherished it."

The flag remained as a precious heirloom in the Driver family until 1922. Then it was sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, where it is carefully preserved under glass today.

I am the flag of the United States of America.
My name is Old Glory.
I fly atop the world's tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America's halls of justice.
I fly majestically over institutions of learning.
I stand guard with power in the world.
Look up and see me.

I stand for peace, honor, truth and justice.
I stand for freedom.
I am confident.
I am arrogant.
I am proud.

When I am flown with my fellow banners,
My head is a little higher,
My colors a little truer.

I bow to no one!
I am recognized all over the world.
I am worshipped - (Only worship the one true God)
I am saluted.
I am loved - I am revered.
I am respected - and I am feared.

I have fought in every battle
of every war
for more than 200 years.

I was flown at Valley Forge,
Gettysburg, Shiloh and Appomattox.
I was there at San Juan Hill,
the trenches of France,
in the Argonne Forest,
Anzio, Rome and the beaches of Normandy.

Guam, Okinawa, Korea and
KheSan, Saigon, Vietnam know me.
I was there.
I led my troops, I was dirty, battleworn and tired,
But my soldiers cheered me and I was proud.

I have been burned, torn and trampled on the
streets of countries I have helped set free.
It does not hurt for I am invincible.
I have been soiled upon, burned, torn and
trampled in the streets of my country.
And when it's done by those
Whom I've served in battle - it hurts.
But I shall overcome - for I am strong.

I have slipped the bonds of Earth
and stood watch over the uncharted
frontiers of space from my vantage point on the moon.
I have borne silent witness to all of America's finest hours.

But my finest hours are yet to come.

When I am torn into strips and used as bandages
for my wounded comrades on the battlefield,
When I am flown at half-mast to honor my soldier,
Or when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving parent
at the grave of their fallen son or daughter,

I am proud.

HOME