National Flag Week is June 9-15; Flag Day is June 14
“I love it as a mother loves her child; take it and cherish it as I have always cherished it; for it has been my steadfast friend and protector in all parts of the world,” said William Driver, as he passed an old American flag down to his daughter in 1873.
Just shy of a year after the United States declared independence, the Continental Congress approved the design of the first national flag of the new nation on June 14, 1777 — now celebrated as National Flag Day. Since its adoption, the American flag has been used as a powerful symbol of hope, freedom, and unity.
Perhaps no story is as powerful as the story of Old Glory – William Driver’s old ship flag that inspired the popular nickname for all American flags today.
Driver was given an American flag, sewn by his mother, to celebrate him becoming a commander of his own ship. For over a decade, the flag – that Driver had nicknamed Old Glory — flew on the mast of his ship, before Driver gave up seafaring and settled in Nashville, Tenn. in 1837.
As tensions between the North and South grew, the flag was controversial as it flew over the street in front of Driver’s home. When the Civil War began, Driver was forced to hide the flag after local Confederates threatened to seize it. To conceal it, Driver had a neighbor sew Old Glory inside a blanket, and there it remained until Nashville was defeated by the Union in February 1862.
When Northern troops entered Nashville, Driver took his quilt and ran to find the general. When he reached him, Driver began cutting open the quilt, much to the general’s surprise. He then revealed the flag, and it was flown over the Statehouse in celebration.
Even in times of contention, Driver’s flag remained a symbol of hope and pride for the country he loved. During National Flag Week June 9-15, celebrate all that the flag means to you, and remember the trials and troubles so many have gone through to protect its sanctity.
What does the American Flag mean to you? Leave your answer in the comments!
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