When my Time Magazine arrived in the mail, I started my usual flip through. There on one of the pages was a picture of three Army soldiers and one of them had an American flag draped around his neck. You would think that a soldier would know better on how to treat the flag.
When I was a kid, every morning we would stand in our classroom, face the American flag that stood in the corner of the room and with hands over our hearts, we would recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “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.” (Let me tell you a secret, I used to get a little choked up, come to think of it, I still do. Another secret, I re-wrote the pledge from memory – no looking it up on Wikipedia or Google.) Seeing our flag fly above a house or being waved at a parade fills me with great pride. I love this country and I love being an American.
And, then I see someone who should know better drape the symbol of freedom around his neck and it just burns my butt. I think about how many people claim they love this country and respect our flag and they haven’t got a clue on its proper display and disposal. Because my memory is a little faulty on the display of an American flag, I decide to do a little research. I found this wonderful website that showed a bunch of pictures of people being disrespectful of our flag. Three were especially upsetting: Sarah Palin autographing the flag for a fan, flags that were printed with Obama’s picture on them and President George W. Bush autographing a flag.
Remember a few years ago when people said that we needed an amendment to the Constitution to prevent flags being burned? I remember my father telling me that the people who supported the amendment didn’t know anything about the proper disposal of the flag. The only proper way to dispose of a flag is by burning it.
Here’s an interesting bit of trivia, the rules governing the flag weren’t passed by Congress into law until 1942.
Were you aware that Governors cannot legally order the flags to be flown at half-staff? Only the President of the United States has that right.
Now, let’s get to the Pledge of Allegiance…
Did you know that the words, “under God” weren’t added until 1954? Of course you did, everybody knows that. But, did you know that the phrase “under God” comes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg address? According to linguist, Geoff Nunberg, our use of the words “under God” are not grammatically correct. He, in 2004, posted two blogs entries you should read: here and here explaining this.
The National Anthem…
Were you aware that the National Anthem was written by Francis Scott Key? Okay, that’s an easy one. Did you know that the lyrics come from his poem entitled, “Defence of Fort McHenry”? Did you know he wasn’t a professional poet? He was a lawyer.
Interestingly enough, the very difficult song to sing has its music based in an old British drinking song, “The Anacreontic Song”. We take a lot from Britain, our song, “My Country Tis of Thee” is set to the British National Anthem, “God Save the Queen”.
Well, there’s your history lesson for the day. I’m off to work in order to pay my taxes.