Why is our American flag called Old Glory? Because Capt. William Driver received a flag he was immensely proud of and demonstrated this pride by taking the flag around the globe with him twice.
After surviving this incredible voyage, the flag also survived the Civil War and was championed as a local landmark until its story permeated the culture at large, and Old Glory became a household term for anyone proud of the flag. Driver is buried in Nashville and is one of the few places in the country authorized by Congress for a flag to be flown 24 hours a day.
Did you know Robert G. Heft designed the current flag as a school project when Hawaii and Alaska were discussed as possible states? He received a B minus for the assignment because his teacher said it lacked creativity. His teacher told him he would receive a higher grade if Congress adopted it, so he sent it on to his representative, where it eventually became the nation’s flag.
Official acts relating to the American flag include:
• June 14, 1777 – The Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act stating, “Resolved that the flag of the United States be made of 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” In 1949, President Harry Truman officially named June 14 as Flag Day in commemoration of the event.
• Jan. 13, 1794 – An act was passed, which said after May 1795 there would be 15 stripes and 15 stars.
• April 4, 1818 – An act was signed by President James Monroe that said there would be 13 stripes and one star for each state. New states’ stars would be added July 4 after their admission to the Union.
• June 24, 1912 – For the first time, flags became standardized with specific proportions and the arrangement of the stars into six rows of eight each according to an executive order from President William Howard Taft.
• Jan. 3, 1959 – An executive order from President Dwight Eisenhower said the stars would be arranged in seven rows of seven stars each.
• Aug. 21, 1959 – An executive order from President Eisenhower resulted in the stars arranged in nine rows staggered horizontally and 11 rows staggered vertically.
The official national colors of the United States – red, white and blue – can be seen on the American flag. Red is a symbol of valor and bravery. White symbolizes purity and innocence. Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Please proudly and properly display Old Glory daily everywhere you can. It’s much more than just a symbol or a flag, and it’s something every American citizen should respect and be proud of, as well. Lots of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters died and made many sacrifices so we can enjoy the freedoms we have, and so have their families. So any disrespect to flag is disrespectful to them, their families and our great country and its citizens.
God bless America.
Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.