Submitted by Veterans Funeral Care and Trimble Funeral Home & Crematory
While hundreds of nations share the same color palate for their flags, few countrymen refer to their flag just by its colors. When given the words red, white and blue, most Americans immediately associate these three colors with our beloved flag. The red symbolizes hardiness and valor; white symbolizes purity and innocence; and, blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
For 101 years, the American flag has had a special day of its own. While the U.S. was in the depths of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation in 1914, establishing a nationwide observance of Flag Day on June 14. Flag Day is also the birthday of the U.S. Army, which was formed 240 years ago as the Continental Army.
While other patriotic displays may get more attention, few command the respect and strict adherence to protocol as the American Flag. Here are a few guidelines to remember as Flag Day approaches.
- The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
- All persons present in uniform and all members of the armed forces as well as veterans should render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their hats with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.
- When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered in the grave or allowed to touch the ground. One of the most moving flag ceremonies involves the flag-draped casket of a fallen hero. Whether the deceased was a war veteran or a soldier killed in battle, there is a poignant ritual of lifting the flag from the casket and folding it 12 times in a series of triangles. Each of the 12 folds represents various aspects of life, patriotic and spiritual. The end result is a triangle with the stars on top of the stripes to signify that the United States began as 13 colonies and now includes 50 states represented by the 50 stars. Then it is presented to a family member.
- When a flag is so tattered that it no longer fits to serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. After your flag has been burned, the ashes should be buried. Veterans Funeral Care and Trimble Funeral Home & Crematory will accept your flag and “retire” it honorably at the time of the cremation of a Veteran. Flags can be brought to Trimble Pointe, 701 12th St. Moline, Mon-Fri 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
This famous pet name for our flag, “Old Glory”, was coined in 1831, by Captain William Driver, a shipmaster of Salem, Massachusetts. As he was leaving on one of his many voyages aboard the brig Charles Doggett some friends presented him with a beautiful flag of twenty-four stars. As the banner opened to the ocean breeze for the first time, he exclaimed “Old Glory!”
He retired to Nashville in 1837, taking his treasured flag from his sea days with him. By the time the Civil War erupted, most everyone in and around Nashville recognized Captain Driver’s “Old Glory.” When Tennessee seceded from the Union, rebels were determined to destroy his flag, but repeated searches revealed no trace of the stars and stripes banner.
Then on February 25, 1862, Union forces captured Nashville and raised the American flag over the capital. It was a rather small and tattered flag. Immediately folks began asking Captain Driver if “Old Glory” still existed. Happy to have soldiers with him this time, Captain Driver went home and began ripping at the seams of his bedcover. As the stitches holding the quilt-top to the batting unraveled, the onlookers peered inside and saw the 24-starred original “Old Glory.”
Captain Driver gently gathered up the flag and returned with the soldiers to the capitol. Though he was sixty years old, the Captain climbed up to the tower to replace the smaller banner with his beloved flag. The Sixth Ohio Regiment cheered and saluted and later adopted the nickname “Old Glory” as their own, telling and re-telling the story of Captain Driver’s devotion to the flag we honor yet today. “Old Glory” is now a part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Captain Driver’s grave is located in the old Nashville City Cemetery, and is one of three places authorized by act of Congress where the Flag of the United States may be flown 24 hours a day.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag…”
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892, by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister. The original verse was published in a popular children’s magazine as part of the national public school Columbus Day Celebration commemorating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. The program was designed to instill American nationalism in students and to encourage schools to equip all classrooms with American flags. It worked!
Passion for the flag
As the flag waves in the wind, or passes in a procession, the pride and emotion that swells within the hearts of Americans is genuine. It is with great honor and respect that Veterans Funeral Care, a Trimble Pointe Company, will be dedicating its flag and pole at the new building at 701 12th St. Moline on Sunday, June 14, at 12:00 PM. The Trimble family wishes to invite all who wish to participate in this dedication with refreshments served immediately following the ceremony. For more information, call 309-764-1144.
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