June 14 marks both the birthday of the symbol of our nation and the man currently tasked with protecting it. The story begins during the Revolutionary War. The Continental Army flew a variety of flags, from those of individual colonies to the Grand Union flag, which consisted of 13 stipes with a Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner – a leftover homage to England.
General George Washington felt he could not effectively rally the troops without a streamer unique to the new country struggling to be born. At one point, during the siege of English-occupied Boston in 1776, King George III loyalists saw the Grand Union snapping in the stiff wind on Prospect Hill and celebrated the colonies’ surrender.
In frustration, Washington was said to have snarked weeks later, “By this time, I presume, they begin to think it strange we have not made a formal surrender of our lines.”
A new tool to rally the troops was desperately needed. The Second Continental Congress agreed, and the new flag was adopted June 14, 1777. The banner’s history is not unlike the resurgence of patriotism in these United States today brought on by another man promising to Make America Great Again, a man who shares his birthday with Old Glory. It’s simply kismet.
The Art of the Deal – Student Style
By resolution, “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white,” and also “the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” To date, there have been 27 official versions of the flag, with stars added as states enter the Union. The latest adaptation in 1960 was the outcome of Hawaii entering the Union. And the tale of the current design is one artfully mastered deal.
In the 1950s, as Alaska was preparing to join the Republic, the race was on by designers to retool the stars in a fashionable, eye catching way, adding the 49th to a field of 48. That’s when Bob Heft, an enterprising 17-year-old Ohio high schooler, hijacked his mother’s sewing machine and stitched 50 stars in a proportional pattern. It was for a class project, and he explained to his history teacher that not only would Alaska be admitted, but Hawaii as well.
Heft received a B- for his effort, yet, undaunted, he sent the new design to his congressman, Representative Walter Moeller (D-OH). In a bi-partisan gesture, Rep. Moeller presented it to Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. On July 4, 1960, Eisenhower and the student stood together as the 50-star flag was inaugurally raised in the nation’s capital. Heft’s grade was renegotiated by the history teacher to an A+, as it should have been in the first place.
Donald J. Trump is a true American patriot – a man who has loved this nation unashamedly for seven decades. As he celebrates his 73rd birthday on the same day that honors both our military might and the greatest symbol of freedom, we should be thankful for his dedication to America first and foremost.
Not unlike what the founding fathers of our fledgling nation experienced, Trump faces an unprecedented battle to save this once again struggling country. But it should be clear to all: America is his first priority – and his allies, supporters, and loyalists believe he is the man for the job.
Perhaps he will channel General George and offer this observation today regarding the Democrats and socialists who wish to destroy our freedom: “By this time, I presume, they begin to think it strange we have not made a formal surrender of our lines.”
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