In the Hope of a More Perfect Union
Being a Boy Scout in my early adolescence provided me with some of the most noteworthy experiences of my life as well as the most mischievous, some of which, if written down, would read like a chapter from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Being a Boy Scout afforded me many opportunities for adventure, experiential learning, and service I otherwise wouldn’t have had. One service opportunity my troop was routinely in charge of was to set up an American flag in the front yard of every neighbor who wanted one on all the patriotic holidays.
We would gather early in the morning, the sun typically just barely beginning to peer over the horizon. As you can imagine, motivation and energy often eluded our crew of sleepy young teenagers at such an hour. Despite waking up earlier than I might have hoped for, it was always worth it. I took pride in seeing the waving flags line the streets of my community. These repeated experiences helped the flag to be more than a fabric of red, white, and blue, but a symbol of freedom and liberty.
Flags have played a prominent role throughout history, serving as symbols of identity, pride, and unity for nations, organizations, and causes. The origins of flags can be traced back to ancient civilizations, where colorful banners were used in battle as rallying points. Over time, flags evolved as a visual representation of the unique attributes of different regions and cultures, incorporating emblems, colors, and patterns specific to their respective societies. They evoke a sense of patriotism, solidarity, and belonging, inspiring individuals to rally behind their flag and defend the ideals it embodies.
Being a newly formed country in 1776, the United States of America was infantile regarding its belief system, government, culture, and identity. Previously known as the Thirteen Colonies, each of the original states had operated under their own government and had their unique flag. To unite the colonies, a committee consisting of George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross approached Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross with a request to design and sew the first official flag of the new nation. Working diligently, Ross meticulously crafted the flag with thirteen alternating red and white stripes to represent the original colonies and a blue canton in the upper left corner with thirteen white stars, symbolizing unity and hope. Betsy Ross's skillful needlework brought the vision of the Founding Fathers to life, giving birth to the iconic American flag that continues to inspire and evoke pride to this day.
We have the unique opportunity this time of year to celebrate a major patriotic holiday in three consecutive months:
On the last Monday in May, we honor those who gave their life while serving in the United States Armed Forces. On Memorial Day, it’s common to see people wearing poppies as a symbol of support for fallen veterans. For more information about the symbolism of the poppy, read our journal article about Remembrance Day.
Flag Day is a commemorative holiday observed in the United States on June 14th each year. It celebrates the adoption of the American flag, which occurred on June 14, 1777. People across the country participate in various activities and events, such as flag-raising ceremonies, parades, and educational programs that promote understanding and appreciation of the flag's symbolism. It serves as a reminder to cherish and respect the flag as a symbol of national unity while encouraging patriotism and love for the country.
Observed on the 4th of July every year, Independence Day commemorates the country's declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776. Independence Day holds immense importance as it symbolizes the birth of the United States and represents the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, and liberty that the country was built on.
We’ve always had a deep desire at Heirloom Art Co. to teach the meaning behind traditions and encourage others to create their own. A large majority of you most likely already have Independence Day traditions whether it be with gathering together as family and friends, a summer cookout, or watching fireworks light the sky, but how often do we celebrate all three of these consecutive holidays?
You might start the tradition of wearing a poppy brooch on Memorial Day or trimming your home with vintage-style bunting. It could be playing lawn games as a family after a summer picnic, or for those you know who are musically talented, they could learn a patriotic tune on our cavalry bugle.
Something resonated with me on those early mornings setting up flags as a Boy Scout. It’s something that has continued to be reinforced as I’ve seen a variety of political, financial, and global circumstances try their best to pull the country apart. It’s something I believe the Founding Fathers knew when they signed the Declaration of Independence and Betsy Ross knew when she was crafting the banner for the new nation. The flag was never intended to represent a perfect country, but to unite an imperfect one, with flaws and differences, in the hope of uniting a more perfect union. We are better when we are united.
Start your own traditions by shopping our Independence Day collection.