Saturday, June 6, 2009

Flag Day 2009

American Flag, Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and Star-Spangled Banner

I’ve never celebrated Flag Day before, as an adult anyway. This will be the first year, but I am looking forward to it. The summer is so full of patriotic holidays from Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, and Patriot Day (9-11). It’s nice to have all these opportunities to explain to my children all the different details of our country, history, and patriotism. A few years ago, my family had the opportunity to spend 5 months in Washington DC with my husband’s job. We were there with his co-workers, all from other countries. At first I was nervous that they would not like us Americans due to all the bad publicity that America was receiving at the time. However, they all found America to be wonderful and commented that they were most surprised at the patriotism and pride that American’s took in their country, something they did not see much of in their country. I was very proud of that and happy that they all left, not only liking America, but admiring it too. I am truly proud to be an American and have the freedoms that we have each day!

What is Flag Day:
Flag Day, always June 14th, is a day for all Americans to celebrate and show respect for our flag. Our flag is representative of our independence and our unity as a nation, under God, indivisible. Our flag has a proud and glorious history. It was at the lead of every battle fought by Americans. Many people have died protecting it. It even stands proudly on the surface of the moon. As Americans, we have every right to be proud of our culture, our nation, and our flag. So raise the flag today and every day with pride!

What to talk to your preschooler about on this day:
Teach them the Pledge of Allegiance:
With your right hand over your heart - “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Teach them the History of the Flag:
The original U.S. flag was authorized by Congress on Saturday, June 14, 1777. It had 13 stripes - 7 red and 6 white - that represent the original 13 colonies. There were 13 white stars in a blue field representing a new constellation of states. Since 1777, there have been different versions of the flag that have been adopted. The red and white stripes with blue constellation have remained the same. Each state in the union is represented by a 5 point star. The number of stars has changed as states joined the union. There are currently 50 states that belong to the United States of America.

Color a Flag printable page:
Teach them how to color the flag with red & white stripes and blue & white stars. Here is a great website to print coloring pages and a picture of the flag:

Properly Display Our Flag
There is a right way and a wrong way to display the flag. The American flag should be held in the highest of regards. It represents our nation and the many people who gave their lives for our country and our flag. Here are the basics on displaying the American flag:
· The flag is normally flown from sunrise to sunset.
· In the morning, raise the flag briskly. At sunset, lower it slowly. Always, raise and lower it ceremoniously.
· The flag should not be flown at night without a light on it.
· The flag should not be flown in the rain or inclement weather.
· After a tragedy or death, the flag is flown at half staff for 30 days. It’s called "half staff" on land, and "half mast" on a ship.
· When flown vertically on a pole, the stars and blue field , or "union", is at the top and at the end of the pole (away from your house).
· The American flag is always flown at the top of the pole. Your state flag and other flags fly below it.
· The union is always on top. When displayed in print, the stars and blue field are always on the left.
· Never let your flag touch the ground, never...period.
· Fold your flag when storing. Don't just stuff it in a drawer or box.
· When your flag is old and has seen better days, it is time to retire it. Old flags should be burned or buried. Please do not throw it in the trash.

There is a very special ceremony for retiring the flag by burning it. It is a ceremony everyone should see. Your local Boy Scout group knows the proper ceremony and performs it on a regular basis. If you have an old flag, give it to them. And, attend the ceremony.

Betsy Ross was a seamstress who made clothes for George Washington. In June, 1776, Washington approached her to make the country's first flag and the rest is history.
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