More than two centuries ago, on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress of the newly established United States of America adopted a resolution making an early version of the stars and stripes our national flag.
That flag, with modifications to reflect an increase in the number of states, has now flown over our nation for 237 years. It is a symbol of this country's shared commitment to democratic values and of Americans' resolve to keep faith with the inspiring vision of the Founding Fathers.
Today is Flag Day. This special day has been set aside as an occasion not only to display our flag proudly, but also as an appropriate time to reflect on the story of America.
Presidents Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and Calvin Coolidge in 1927 issued proclamations calling on Americans to celebrate Flag Day. It didn't become a permanent official day for a national observance until Congress enacted and President Truman signed a law making it so in 1949. That statute directs the president to issue an annual proclamation urging Americans to participate in honoring what our flag symbolizes by displaying it proudly.
President Barack Obama's Flag Day proclamation this year captures movingly how Americans feel about the flag and the nation:
"For more than two centuries, Americans have saluted Old Glory in times of trial and triumph. Generations have looked to it as they steeled their resolve, and an unbroken chain of men and women in uniform has served under our flag. From the banks of Baltimore's Inner Harbor to European trenches and Pacific islands, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, they have risked their lives so we might live ours. When we lay our veterans to rest, many go draped with the stars and stripes upon them, and their families find solace in the folds of honor held tightly to their chest. Because of their sacrifice, our nation is stronger, safe and will always remain a shining beacon of freedom for the rest of the world."
On this Flag Day 2014, The Messenger, is proud to join in the annual celebration of Old Glory.