Today the nation is reeling from the news of the shooting attack on a group of Republican lawmakers and their staff, fired on while they practiced for a charity baseball game. What has happened to our nation? Our very fabric is fraying.
What a tragic coincidence this event should occur today, June 14th…Flag Day. Do we even know what that means anymore?
Around the nation school is out, and some places even when school is in, there’s no education being done but rather indoctrination.I spent a year teaching high school in South Florida, and it was such a lovely experience I volunteered to go back into a combat zone, Afghanistan, as a civilian-military advisor. My area of teaching was honors (International Baccalaureate) American history and honors government. Sadly, the progressive socialist left isn’t interested in actual American history, but revisionist history to fit their ideological condemnation and their agenda. So I figured I’d research and present the history of Flag Day in America. Perhaps y’all will share with friends and family, especially your children and grandchildren. There is a reason, unless we want more disrespect towards our national symbol.
As described by USFlag.org, “The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as ‘Flag Birthday’. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as ‘Flag Birthday’, or ‘Flag Day’.
Over the next three decades, a number of schools in states across the country adopted their own observations of Flag Day with programs for school children and even adults.Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: “I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.”
Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day – the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 – was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.” And let us never forget these words from our great general and first president, George Washington in a letter to another future American president, James Madison November 30, 1785:
“I hope the resolutions which were published for the consideration of the House, respecting the reference to Congress for the regulation of a Commercial system will have passed. The proposition in my opinion is so self evident that I confess I am at a loss to discover wherein lyes the weight of the objection to the measure. We are either a United people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all matters of general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a National character to support—If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending to it. For whilst we are playing a double game, or playing a game between the two we never shall be consistent or respectable—but may be the dupes of some powers and, most assuredly, the contempt of all.”
I somehow believe Washington would have found the actions of one Colin Kaepernick this past football season as not being respectable.
However, today is an even more important day for those of us who go by the name American Soldier. For it was on this day 242 years ago that the Continental Army was established, on June 14th, 1775. Before there was a flag, before there was an American nation, there was an Army.
It’s vital to comprehend that our Army wasn’t established to protect or safeguard geographical terrain, but to be the guardian of an ideal. It was to stand upon the ramparts to serve and protect something that was a revolutionary concept: individual liberty and the right to self-governance. And so it is that today’s U.S. Army on its flag has a simple motto: “This we’ll defend.”
Throughout the years, simple men and women from everyday walks of life have answered a call, taken an oath, and sworn to defend this ideal which was to be later codified in our Constitution. And that Constitution wasn’t ratified until September 17, 1787, twelve years after we had an Army.
You see, the reason why those of us who’ve served this great nation in uniform, particularly in the Army, took offense to Mr. Kaepernick’s disrespectful actions is because we never terminate the oath we took. There is no statute of limitations. As well, we know why Francis Scott Key wrote those famous words we today call our National Anthem. It was because as the dawn’s early light shown forth, our flag was still there, flying above Ft. McHenry. It remained flying through the bombardment of the British naval fleet due to the sacrifices of U.S. Army Soldiers who kept it flying. And why did they do so? Because, “this we’ll defend.”
And so it is, in front of our house here in Dallas the American and Army flags fly. Each day I’m reminded of being an American, and being an American Soldier who embodies the motto, “this we’ll defend.” I’m honored to be a part of a lineage of obedient and humble servants who stepped up when called upon. I find it honorably fitting that the American flag drapes the coffins of those who’ve been part of that band of brothers and sisters who’ve lived a life in defense of our unique ideal and way of life.
So today, tell your children and grandchildren that it is Flag Day, and educate them on its history. But also, tell them that on this day, before there was a flag, before there was an independent American nation, before there was a United States Constitution…there was a Continental Army who swore, “this we’ll defend.” If you see a Soldier today, wish them Happy Birthday.
And let us also pray for the victims of today’s shooting, but more importantly, for our nation.
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]