We hope you enjoy today’s cover story on the history of Flag Day, which is next Tuesday, June 14. Similar to other nations that designate a day to celebrate their flag, ours in the United States reflects our unique history. And it’s an exciting one!
Here’s my personal flag story: As a student at Gettysburg College, I was a dorm counselor and lived in “Old Dorm” (now, the main administrative building of the College), which served as a hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863. The flag as it existed at the time of the battle, contained 34 stars. Today, it flies from the cupola at the very top of the building. As I understand it, it is one of the few public places in the United States that is permitted to fly the flag at all times; it is never taken down, except every few years to replace one that has worn out. This event took place just before my graduation when the college replaced the old flag that had become tattered with a “new” one. I was there as the flags were switched and asked if I could take the tattered flag. Permission was granted! And I proudly display this historic flag on my office wall today.
Flag Day falls on one of my favorite days of the year: The U.S. Army’s Birthday. The Army, where I served during the height of the Vietnam War, turns 247 years young.
The date of the founding of our first branch of service and the most powerful symbol of the freedoms we have fought for and enjoyed throughout our history are forever entwined, and it shouldn’t be any other way.