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Examiner
  • Jerry Plantz: Honor the flag, our living symbol

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  • Saturday is not an official federal holiday but it should be.
    June 14th is Flag Day and citizens are encouraged to fly the flag for seven days.
    Historians credit Jonathan Flynt Morris of Hartford, Connecticut, as the father of Flag Day observance when he suggested to the editor of the Evening Press on June 8, 1861, that June 14, 1861, be celebrated throughout the country. Hartford observed the day with patriotic fervor and praying for the success of the Federal army and the preservation of the Union.
    My two top favorite presidents, John Adams and Harry S. Truman, were instrumental in officially drawing national attention to "Old Glory."
    On June 14, 1777, John Adams, at a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, said, "Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation." The resolution passed.
    On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued only a presidential proclamation acknowledging Morris' June 14 day as Flag Day. However, it wasn't until Aug. 3, 1949, when the man from Independence, President Harry S. Truman, signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as national Flag Day.
    Unfortunately, June 14, has become just another June day for most of America to snooze, swim and shop. Still, many cities throughout America will mark the day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the singing of the National Anthem, such as Baltimore.
    The American Flag Foundation's 35th Annual National Flag Day and Pause For The Pledge of Allegiance Program runs all day at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine culminating with the Annual National Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance at 7 p.m. EDT.
    Historically there have been 27 official versions of the flag. Stars have been added to it as states have entered the Union. The current version dates to July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state and star.
    I had the honor to speak at the National Flag Foundation ceremony in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 2003. My 9/11 poem, "I Held The Flag Today," graced the front cover of their national magazine in the Fall of 2002.
    Our flag is a living symbol of who we are. Will you be flying that symbol on Saturday?
    I give you President John Adams' toast: Independence forever.
    Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at jerryplantz@msn.com.
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