In today’s society, the American flag is a symbol of freedom, liberty, and justice among a number of other values. As Americans, we value the flag for its representation during the revolutionary war and the everlasting significance of today. As soldiers, we pledge to honor, serve, and protect the flag and the United States of America at all cost. In this paper, the relationship between the American flag and the United States Army will be explored through the histories of both.
Furthermore, the importance of flag detail will be discussed by linking the two entities together as one. Without the American flag’s representation, the Army has no purpose; no means to exist. The first American flag was introduced in May of 1976 in which Betsy Ross reported her creating it. On June 14, 1977, the Continental Congress passed the Flag Act to establish the set design of the United States flag.
After the delegation, the original flag consisted of thirteen, red and white alternating stripes and thirteen, white stars in a blue field which was the number of original colonies: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts (Plymouth Rock), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia. The stars represented a new constellation that the states were creating by rebelling against England. Before the Civil War, the American flag was merely an object to mark American territory or a military ensign.
During the war, the American flag symbolized American nationalism and opposition of the Southern states secessionism. As more and more states were added to the United States, an additional star was added to represent each state until 1960 when the last state, Hawaii, was added. Although the flag of today have various meanings, the Continental Army was the first to use it to lead it into battle against the British. In 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Army, commanded by General George Washington, to defend against the British.
This army along with state militia and the French defeated the British allowing the nation to be free. In 1788, a new constitution was formed naming the president the commander in chief and left the congress to legislative matters. The Army has been involved in several wars and conflicts across the globe including: World War 1, World War 2, Korean War, Vietnam War, and many others. The military of today as of 2009 consists of the around 2 million soldiers stretched across the five main branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps.
Today’s United States Army consists of over 1 million soldiers with about half serving on active duty. The United States Army follows 7 basic principles: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless-service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. It is the duty of an American soldier to defend the US flag which symbolizes the United States of America. As seen in the histories of the United States Army and the American flag, the two of them go hand and hand. It is important as soldiers to honor the flag and take flag detail seriously.
The American flag is a symbol of all the brothers who have died for the United States, all the people that are allowed to live free in our democratic government, and the people in other countries that now able to do the same due to the United States efforts. According to the article, “Honoring the Flag-Detail More Than Raising, Lowering Flag”, the soldiers of the 3/17th Calvary Regiment takes flag detail very seriously. One soldier stated that flag detail is recognizing the men and women who served before them and is allowing them to do their small part in the progression the United States.
This should be true for all soldiers whom participate in flag detail. Honoring the flag is the equivalent honoring the United States of America; in context they are the identical. Not only as soldiers but as United States citizens should one embrace the historical and representational symbolism of the American flag and do our best to defend, honor, and serve it at all costs. Throughout history, the American flag and the United States soldiers have been engaging the endeavors of the United States of America together.
As stated in the Soldier’s Creed, “I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life” relates to every the American flag represents. It is the pledge that soldiers will defend the flag also known as the United States of American. In the “Star-Spangled Banner”, a poem written by Francis Scott Key, he expresses with the words, “Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there” that the siting of the flag after his capture gave him hope. In conclusion, we should all see the American flag as hope, freedom, and greatness and respect it and honor flag detail.