Flags and Their Importance
Flags are used by countries for a few reasons beyond just having something fly in the air. A country will spend many hours and a lot of money on their flag design because a Flag is a country’s way of portraying itself to the rest of the world.
Flags can be portraits of a country’s historical past, like the American Flag. The American flag still has 13 red and white stripes, signifying the original 13 colonies. Some flags of the world follow this historical pattern, as well. Many countries have their flags split into quadrants that contain parts of other counties’ flags, particularly if the now-independent country was once a colony. For instance, the Australian flag has its own design, but a corner is reserved for the British flag.
Flags have been raised in times of battle, but sometimes countries will use a different flag for battle than they do in peacetime. Some countries will take their coat of arms off the flag design in peacetime, because a coat of arms usually stands for a strong military presence. Actually, flags were most likely developed long ago as something army men could recognize as their own during a war. During war, when the air is clouded with dust, soldiers had trouble staying with their group. Looking up in the sky, a soldier could see his country’s flag waving through the air, then get back with his fellow soldiers.
Many Americans own American Flags and proudly display them outside their homes, offices, and schools. The wide variety and availability of the American flag to consumers has made it not only a national symbol, but a cultural icon. The flag was there during the Revolutionary War days and remained there during the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Flags can be unifying to a country, and many times are. A country that can look to its flag flown high above the landscape in times of trouble and remember that the country will go on. People that have never met before can feel unity towards one another knowing that they’re part of the same country and fly the same flag. In a country as large as the United States of America, having a unifying flag really brings the country together. When you’ve seen how different places like Maine and Arizona are, seeing the American flag makes you realize they’re both part of the same country. The flag makes all American citizens feel like part of a team.
The American flag is a symbol of pride and freedom for all Americans. “The Star Spangled Banner,” the national anthem, proclaims, “And the rocket’s red glare / the bombs bursting in air / gave proof through the night / that our flag was still there.” Our flag flying through the smoke of warfare gave hope to Americans and ever since the flag has been a symbol of that hope and unity.
After the tragedy of 9/11, the American flag was still flying after the dust had settled, creating a sense of hope and the knowledge that the country would go on in the face of adversity.
Today, countries from all around the world look to the American flag for the same hope and inspiration. The flag started as a banner to celebrate America’s freedom and now stands as an icon of world diplomacy.
The flag’s beginnings are shroud in controversy: Did Betsy Ross really make the first American flag design? The story has been passed down for generations. And, even though there is no hard evidence pointing to her actually making the flag (and substantial evidence against it), the lore has become a classic American tale. In cases like this, sometimes the “story” is just as good as the actual history. As more territories became official states, the original circular star pattern eventually became the well-known fifty stars on a field of blue as of 1950.
In modern times, there are many specific rules for flying the current fifty-star flag, including when to fly it and its proximity to other flags. For instance, on American soil, the flag needs to be generally flown higher than all other flags in its vicinity. There is also a specific way to fold the flag and specific rules about when to fly the flag at half-staff. Did you know that after a current or former President dies, the flag is flown at half-staff for 30 days? Also, on Memorial Day, remember to fly your flag at half-staff until noon and then hoist the flag back up to the top of the pole.
American flags are given so much respect because citizens of the United States equate the flag with the country they love. As time goes on, changes to the flag will almost certainly occur. But, for sure, the “red, white, and blue” banner will always fly high above many homes and businesses all over the country. States use their flags to show a unique trait that distinguishes them from other states. Just like the state quarters from a few years ago, each state has something different and characteristic about it and residents of each state are very proud of what their home adds to America as a whole.
Each flag has its own story, including the Oklahoma State Flag, which pays homage to the state’s rich Native American heritage. There are two symbols of peace on it, including a Native American peace pipe and an olive branch. There are also brown crosses on the flag, which are Native American symbols for stars.
Many residents of individual states enjoy having their state flag displayed on their car or outside their home. The Texas state flag is a popular choice nationwide because of the pride and solidarity of the Texan spirit. After 9/11, it was said that all of America considered itself New Yorkers, so New York State and city flags became a sign of American unity. Just as the American flag is a symbol of this nation’s pride and values, flags from countries all over the World use their banners to display their country’s pride to other nations. Each country has a different flag and sometimes cities have flags, too. For instance, New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Boston, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco all have city flags that represent what each city stands for. World flags can be important educational tools for students in multicultural days and various project ideas. For instance, a teacher could assign a project where each student reaches into a bag and pulls out a different world flag. Each student would have his or her own country and do research about that country to present to the class. Flags can say a lot about a country. For instance, the stripes in the American flag represent the 13 original colonies and the stars represent all 50 current United States. The colors also have meaning, including the red meaning hardiness and valor, white meaning purity and innocence, and blue representing vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
A flag is not just a symbol, but a way for a country to portray itself to the rest of the world. These flags are then made into national icons for each country. In America, you’ll see the US flag on items from pins to stickers to hard hats, all of which you can find here at the United States Flag Store.
International flags make great gifts for everyone in touch with their family’s heritage. Decorative bases are available for our world stick flags that hold multiple flags at once. Then, if someone has Irish and Italian ancestors and now lives in America, you can fill three slots with a flag from each country. World flag pins are also available, and remember, if you don’t see the world flag you’re looking for, we can custom-make you a flag or pin to your specifications.
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