Monday, June 14, 2010

Salute Old Glory

Today is Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. So, remember to pull out the stars and stripes and display them with pride! Coming off the heels of Memorial Day, and with Independence Day around the corner, one thing is certain, Americans have no shortage of patriotic holidays. Perhaps it's because we recognize what our founding father's had to endure to preserve freedom, and believe in the the fundamental principals that made this nation exceptional.

But what is this pride in our flag all about? Perhaps it's the symbolic nature of hope in a better way of life for all who live under its banner. Or maybe it represents perseverance, much like the human spirit. Looking at this time line featuring some of the most famous depictions of our flag may help us better understand our infatuation with old glory. Some are inspiring, some are controversial, but even when we don't agree with events in our country's history we can thank God for the freedom we are given to learn from our mistakes and make better choices in the future. That is something worth saluting!

This painting by Edward Percy Moran in 1917 depicts the legendary meeting when Betsy Ross showed the new American flag she has made to General George Washington and some members of the Continental Congress. Betsy Ross is now considered a patriotic role model for young girls and a symbol of women's contributions to American history.

This 1851 oil-on-canvas painting by German American artist Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze commemorates General George Washington's crossing of the Delaware on December 25, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War. That action was the first move in a surprise attack against the Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey in the Battle of Trenton. The hazardous crossing in adverse weather made it possible for Washington to lead the main body of the Continental Army against Hessian soldiers garrisoned at Trenton. After a brief battle, nearly the entire Hessian force was captured, with negligible losses to the Americans. The battle significantly boosted the Continental Army's flagging morale, and inspired re-enlistments.

This 1912 painting by Edward Moran depicts the legendary moment of the morning of September 14th, 1814. Francis Scott Key, a Washington lawyer who had come to Baltimore to negotiate the release of Dr. William Beanes, a civilian prisoner of war, witnessed the bombardment from a nearby truce ship. An oversized American flag had been sewn by Mary Pickersgill for exactly $405.90, in anticipation of the British attack on the fort. When Key saw the flag emerge intact in the dawn he was so moved that he immediately began to compose the poem "The Defence of Fort McHenry", which would later be renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner" and become America's national anthem.

THE SPIRIT OF '76 (1876)
Artist Archibald McNeal Willar is known to have created four different versions (and maybe more) of this painting, also known as "Yankee Doodle Dandy". The one you see here is the property of the U. S. State Department and was most likely painted in 1875. He first painted this work for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, but it was dismissed by art critics as little more than a cartoon. However, it seized the public imagination with fervent adulation and after the Exposition it went on tour from Boston to San Francisco, and was admired by sell-out crowds wherever it was shown.

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. The photograph was extremely popular, being reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and came to be regarded in the United States as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time. The picture was later used by Felix de Weldon to sculpt the USMC War Memorial, located adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C.

On July 20, 1969, Commander Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon. It was then the historic words, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" were pronouced. The mission, carried out by the United States, is considered a major accomplishment in human exploration and represented a victory by the U.S. in the Cold War Space Race with the Soviet Union. An American flag was left on the moon's surface as a reminder of the accomplishment, which is still thought to be standing today.

The Three Soldiers (also known as The Three Servicemen) is a bronze statue on the Washington, DC National Mall commemorating the Vietnam War. The portrayed group consists of three young men, completely dressed and attired in combat uniforms and fighting equipment used by U.S. ground infantrymen in the Vietnam War. Each of the men were purposely identifiable as Caucasian (the lead man), African American (man on right), and Hispanic (man on left). Of the memorial, the architect has suggested, "Their strength and their vulnerability are both evident. Their true heroism lies in [the] bonds of loyalty in the face of their awareness and their vulnerability."

On the morning of September 11, 2001, two hijacked planes bound for Los Angeles were intentionally crashed into the two towers of the World Trade Center. The towers collapsed within two hours of the collisions. Terrorists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and others organized and executed the attacks, in which approximately 3,000 people died. After the attacks, hospital workers and police officers began referring to the World Trade Center site as "Ground Zero". The heroic New York Fire Department was in charge of the cleanup. This photograph by Thomas E. Franklin of The Bergen Record, shows three New York City firefighters raising the American flag at ground zero. This image would later be used to construct a monument in honor of this historic moment that once again demonstrated the strength of the American people.

Following the September 11th attacks on the United States, American Forces began fighting back global terrorism, which included Operation: Iraqi Freedom. This eventually led to a symbolic moment where a statue of brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, was toppled in Firdaus Square. Before the statue came down, the face was draped with the American flag that was said to have been the very flag that was flying over the Pentagon on September 11th. Saddam Hussein would eventually be captured, tried and found guilty of crimes against humanity by the Iraqi people, which would eventually lead to his death through execution.


Net Movie Blogger said...

God bless you!

Thank you for this beautiful post on Flag Day as we honor the wonderful American Flag and our Great Country!

We absolutely are grateful to the Lord, our Soldiers, and their families for our Freedom!

Thank you, for the interesting and historic images in this post for Flag Day... it's good to be reminded.

God Bless America!!!

Kristin said...

Very well written and it's great that you found all those photos! Definitely much to celebrate about our country this time of year -- but it saddens me to think that some of those photos (like Iwo Jima) might not be so celebrated today.

Kara said...

Alot of people recognize these images but have no idea of the historical significance behind them. This helps show how important our flag is and how imprtant it is to be proud of our flag and the nation it represents. Thank you for posting this.