THE LIVING SYMBOL OF OUR GREAT REPUBLIC
HOW TO DISPLAY IT
HOW TO RESPECT IT
On Flag Day, June 14, 1923, representatives of over 68 organizations met in Washington for a conference, called by and conducted under the auspices of The National Americanism Commission of The American Legion, to draft an authentic code of flag etiquette. The code drafted by that conference is printed on the following pages, together with diagrams illustrating most of the rules. While the rules adopted by the conference have no official government sanction, nevertheless they represent the authoritative opinion of the principal patriotic bodies of the United States and of Army and Navy experts, and are being followed by all of the organizations which took part in the gathering, including 45 other organizations which have since adopted this code representing over 20,000,000 people. The conference constituted itself a permanent body, so that modifications in the rules can be made if this proves desirable. The rules as given are from the final corrected draft of the code as brought out of the conference. Legion posts will find the rules and diagrams worth calling to the notice of school pupils and citizens generally.
THE AMERICAN’S CREED
Wm. Tyler Page
I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign nation of many sovereign states; a perfect union, one and inseperable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it against all enemies.
RESPECT THE FLAG
When you see the Stars and Stripes displayed, son, stand up and take off your hat. Somebody may titter. It is in the blood of some to deride all expression of noble sentiment. You may blaspheme in the street and stagger drunken in public places, and the bystanders will not pay much attention to you; but if you should get down on your knees and pray to Almighty God, or if you should stand bareheaded while a company of old soldiers marches by with flags to the breeze, some people will think you are showing off.
But don’t you mind! When Old Glory comes along, salute, and let them think what they please! When you hear the band play “The Star-Spangled Banner” while you are in a restaurant or hotel dining room, get up even if you rise alone; stand there and don’t be ashamed of it, either!
For of all the signs and symbols since the world began there is none other so full of meaning as the flag of this country. That piece of red, white and blue bunting means five thousand years of struggle upward. It is the full-grown flower of ages of fighting for liberty. It is the century plant of human hope in bloom.
Your flag stands for humanity, for an equal opportunity to all the sons of men. Of course we haven’t arrived yet at that goal; there are many injustices yet among us, many senseless and cruel customs of the past still clinging to us, but the only hope of righting the wrongs of men lies in the feeling produced in our bosoms by the sight of that flag.
Other flags mean a glorious past, this flag a glorious future. It is not so much the flag of our fathers as it is the flag of our children, and of all children’s children yet unborn. It is the flag of tomorrow: It is the signal of the “Good Time Coming.” It is not the flag of your king — it is the flag of yourself and of all your neighbors.
Don’t be ashamed when your throat chokes and the tears come, as you see it flying from the masts of our ships on all the seas or floating from every flagstaff of the Republic. You will never have a worthier emotion. Reverence it as you would reverence the signature of the deity.
Listen, son! The band is playing the national anthem—“The Star-Spangled Banner!” They have let loose Old Glory yonder. Stand up—and others will stand with you.
This tribute to the flag is offered to the country in appeal to all men and women of all races, colors and tongues, that they may come to understand that our flag ,1s the symbol of liberty, and learn to love. it.
Alvin M. Owsley,
Past National Commander,
The American Legion
HISTORY OF THE FLAG
The United States Flag is he third oldest of the National Standards of the world; older than the Union Jack of Britain or the Tricolor of France.
The flag was first authorized by Congress June 14, 1777. This date is now observed as Flag Day throughout America.
The flag was first flown from Fort Stanwix, on the site of the present city of Rome, New York, on August 3, 1777. It was the first under fire three days later in the Battle of Oriskany, August 6, 1777.
It was first decreed that there should be a star and a stripe fo reach state, making thirteen of both; for the states at that time had just been erected from the original thirteen colonies.
The colors of the Flag may be thus explained : The red is for valor, zeal and fervency; the white for hope, purity, cleanliness of life, and rectitude of conduct; the blue, the color of heaven, for reverence to God, loyalty, sincerity, justice and truth.
The star (an ancient symbol of India, Persia and Egypt) symbolizes dominion and sovereignty for each state, is emblamatic of our Federal Constitution, which reserves to the States their individual sovereignty except as to rights delegated by them to the Federal Government.
The symbolism of the Flag was thus interpreted by Washington: “We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty.”
In 1794, Vermont and Kentucky were admitted to the Union and the number of stars and of stripes was raised to fifteen in correspondence. As other states came into the Union it became evident there would be too many stripes. So in 1818 Congress enacted that the number of stripes be reduced and restricted henceforth to thirteen, representing the thirteen original states; while a star should be added for each succeeding state. That law is the law of today.
The name “Old Glory” was given to our National Flag August 10, 1831, by Captain William Driver of the brig Charles Goggett.
The flag was first carried in battle at the Brandywine, September 11, 1777. It first flew over foreign territory January 28, 1778, at Nassau, Bahama Islands; Fort Nassau having been captured by the Americans in the course of the war for independence. The first foreign salute to the flag was rendered by the French admiral LaMotte Piquet, off Quiberon Bay, February 13, 1778.
The United States Flag is unique in the deep and noble significance of its message to the entire world, a message of national independence, of individual liberty, of idealism, of patriotism.
It symbolizes national independence and popular sovereignty. It is not the Flag of a reigning family or royal house, but of a hundred million free people welded into a Nation, one and inseparable, united not only by community of interest, but by vital unity of sentiment and purpose; a Nation distinguished for the clear individual conception of its citizens alike of their duties and their privileges, their obligations and their rights.
It incarnates for all mankind the spirit of Liberty and the glorious ideal of human Freedom; not the freedom of unrestraint or the liberty of license, but an unique ideal of equal opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, safeguarded by the stern and lofty principles of duty, of righteousness and of justice, and attainable by obedience to self-imposed laws.
Floating from the lofty pinnacle of American idealism, it is a beacon of enduring hope, like the famous Bartholdi Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World to the oppressed of all lands. It floats over a wondrous assemblage of people from every racial stock of the earth whose united hearts constitute an indivisible and invincible force for the defense and succor of the downtrodden.
It embodies the essence of patriotism. Its spirit is the spirit of the American nation. Its history is the history of the American people. Emblazoned upon its folds in letters of living light are the names and fame of our heroic dead, the Fathers of the Republic who devoted upon its altars their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Twice told tales of National honor and glory cluster thickly about it. Ever victorious, it has emerged triumphant from eight great National conflicts. It flew at Saratoga, at Yorktown, at Palo Alto, at Gettysburg, at Manila Bay, at Chateau-Thierry. It bears witness to the immense expansion of our national boundaries, the development of our natural resources, and the splendid structure of our civilization. It prophesies the triumph of popular government, of civic religious liberty and of national righteousness throughout the world.
The flag first rose over thirteen states along the Atlantic seaboard, with a population of some three million people. Today it flies over forty eight states, extending across the continent, and over great islands of the two oceans; and one hundred thirty millions owe it allegiance. It has been brought to this proud position by love and sacrifice. Citizens have advanced it and heroes have died for it. It is the sign made visible of the strong spirit that has brought liberty and prosperity to the people of America. It is the flag of all of us alike. Let us accord it honor and loyalty.