Generic American flag

THE ISSUE:

Today is Flag Day and the 244th birthday of the U.S. Army.

OUR OPINION:

It’s a day to embrace national pride.


Today should mark a proud date for all Americans. June 14, 2019, is not only Flag Day, it is the birthday — 244 years — of the United States Army.

The Army of the United States is designated as such in the U.S. Constitution, springing from its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed June 14, 1775. Warriors in the first Army were not yet Americans; they were revolutionaries with a deep belief in freedom and justice.

They were our original patriots, willing to sacrifice their lives for a cause our American soldiers today continue to champion with their motto: “This We’ll Defend.”

The Army as we know it replaced the disbanded Continental Army on June 3, 1784, following the Revolutionary War. The black, gold and white came together to defend the red, white and blue of the United States of America.

Proudly, they still serve with fellow service personnel on the battlefields, oceans and in the air.

With them, Americans continue to hold dear our hard-won freedoms and beliefs, and the American flag has remained a symbol of this pride.

For decades, communities and states across the nation have celebrated the flag. The first such public recognition is believed to have been in 1885, spearheaded by a public school teacher in Fedonia, Wisconsin, for the

June 14 108th anniversary of the “Stars and Stripes.”

Many years of “Flag Birthday” celebrations followed the original fete. More and more, the observance involved flag-waving schoolchildren and displays on public buildings.

Eventually, in 1949, President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress to designate June 14 as National Flag Day.

A day of national pride.

Flag Day does not always share the glory of such national holidays as do our birthday celebration of the Fourth of July or Memorial Day, established following the Civil War but not designated as a national holiday in 1971.

It is the middle child, so to speak, of national patriotic holidays, finally established May 30, 1916, by President Woodrow Wilson.

Our flag, we believe, should certainly be celebrated in its own right. It is a symbol of foresight and hope. Of conviction and perseverance. A symbol of strength and sacrifice.

It is our enduring symbol of pride.

Pride in the Stars and Stripes is inherent in most Americans. And national pride is a fulcrum for defending our beliefs and thus maintaining our American freedoms.

Pride in the U.S. flag is especially important in these challenging times of national divisiveness. This shared pride can be the ultimate touchstone for all Americans, whatever race, creed, religion or political party.

Let’s celebrate this Flag Day by remembering this message behind the flag: We should be proud. And we could all use a little more flag waving these days.

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