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Talking it over -- 6-24-10

The Fourth of July, along with other specific days, are known for celebrating our symbol of freedom, the flag. It is a very appropriate theme for many events especially July 4th, the day we celebrate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Since the Hancock Lions have selected 'Hooray for the Red, White and Blue' for the July 4th theme, I decided to research the symbolism of our flag. We all know many of the basic principals surrounding the flag as it symbolizes our country, freedom and struggles. However, do you know what each part of the flag means?

The American Flag consists of 13 alternating stripes of red and white. The stripes are a symbol of rays of light emanating from the sun. The white color signifies purity and innocence and the red color is for valor and bravery. There are 13 to recognize the original 13 colonies.

In the left-hand upper corner of the flag is a field of blue with a five pointed star for each state in the union. The original flag contained 13 and it was decided to add one star for each state that joined the union. The blue color stands for vigilance, perseverance and justice. The stars are a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired.

The flag carries a message of freedom to all parts of the world and has been a witness to our struggles for the cause of freedom. It is an inspiration. Upon seeing the flag flying after a battle, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the words to the "Star Spangled Banner."

There are many rules surrounding the flag, how it should be flown, carried, stored, folded and cared for. It is recommended to be flown on specific days such as Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Inauguration Day, and Flag Day and suggested to be flown on others such as New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Mothers Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The flag is a very important symbol of our country, our freedom and devotion to the cause of liberty for all. It is an appropriate theme for the July 4th celebration but is also a theme we should be celebrating each day of the year. Simply seeing the flag flying and displayed at events should be cause for us to stop and appreciate each part of its symbolism and the important role it has played in the lives of Americans throughout the years.