Q: Why celebrate Flag Day?
A: Flag Day observes the anniversary of the adoption of the “Stars and Stripes” on June 14, 1777, as the national flag of the United States of America. The alternating red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies. The white stars reflected the “new constellation” as observed by John Adams at the Continental Congress. For more than two centuries, Old Glory has united Americans in times of war and peace, serving as an inalienable symbol of freedom, patriotism and civic purpose. The majestic presentation of the red, white and blue, from classrooms to cemeteries, sports arenas, courtrooms, front porches and town squares serves as a visible salute to those who have fought to defend individual liberty, freedoms, self-governance and our American way of life. Singing the National Anthem and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance are common rituals that bring together classmates, teammates, friends and neighbors. Every year on June 14, Flag Day offers an opportunity for households, businesses and communities across the country to display the flag and show unity to our unique heritage. Displaying the flag also pays tribute to America’s fallen heroes, members of the Armed Forces and our veterans who have defended liberty and justice in service and sacrifice to our nation so that we may live as a free people in a free society.
Q: What does the U.S. flag symbolize?
A: For generations of Americans and freedom-loving people around the world, the U.S. flag symbolizes independence from tyranny. Since the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Americans have laid down their lives, sacrificing blood and treasure to defend the sacred principles upon which our nation was founded. Seventy summers ago, Americans led Allied Forces to storm the beachheads of Normandy to liberate a continent under siege. Young men in uniform, many of whom were scarcely past puberty, accepted a mission borne with the gravest of risks. Holding fast to the courage of their convictions, the grace of Providence and the blessings of faith, family and fraternity, these freedom fighters scaled the cliffs, launched a hazardous amphibious assault and stormed the shoreline under an unimaginable hailstorm of enemy artillery. Bound by love of country, duty, loyalty and honor, the bravest of the brave changed the course of history on the early morning hours of June 6, 1944. Thanks in large measure to their courageous service, the D-Day Invasion paved a path to peace and prosperity for posterity. Let us not forget their sacrifice or the sacrifices of those who would follow in their footsteps, wearing the uniform with honor and distinction in service to our country to defeat the evils of tyranny and hatred. Upholding the noble goodness of their cause calls for a renewed commitment to a common purpose. Old Glory represents the sacred ideals that galvanize us as a nation, from our darkest hours to our greatest triumphs. Let us lead by example so that our youngest generations will embrace the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Seven decades ago, the heroes of D-Day lit the lamp of liberty halfway around the world. Let us make sure it continues to shine brightly for generations to come. Be strong stewards of our system of self-governance. Vote. Volunteer. Make a difference through public or military service. Embrace our system of free enterprise as a job creator, entrepreneur and productive member of the taxpaying public. On Flag Day and every day in between, let’s make good on the everyday responsibilities of citizenship and fulfill our debt of gratitude to the extraordinary sacrifice of those who have given above and beyond the call of duty.
Of Note: Iowans may order a U.S. flag to be flown over the U.S. Capitol on a specific date through Senator Grassley’s office. Payments and orders should be made six weeks prior to the flying date requested. To make a request, go to www.grassley.senate.gov. Click on Constituent Services to download the flag order request form.