By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Cloudless blue skies and a cool breeze created a picture-perfect backdrop for the Stars and Stripes June 14 during the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1136 Flag Day ceremony.
The history of the American flag, folding protocol and a flag retiring ceremony were central to the gathering.
Wyandotte Museum Director Jesse Rose spoke about the history of the American flag, which he said was adopted on June 14, 1777, and the design of which has been changed 27 times since its inception.
He said the blue field on the flag represents justice and perseverance, while the 50 white stars each represent a state. The 13 stripes represent the original colonies which declared independence from England.
“The red stripes represent valor, courage and hardiness,” Rose said. “the white stripes represent innocence and purity.”
He said the flag’s nicknames include Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes and the Star-Spangled Banner.
The new commander of American Legion Post 217, Bill Rice, said the flag is an important part of our culture, having survived 243 years and two World Wars.
“The flag has survived physically and symbolically in time of crisis and achievement,” he said. “During the Vietnam War, the flag took on conflicting meaning that split the nation. By the Gulf War, the flag was again a unity force.”
Rice said that on 9/11, the flag became a symbol of hope and pride.
“Though tattered and dirty, flying above the rubble of the World Trade Center, it, like our country, would prevail,” he said.
Rice said the U.S. flag is one of the most widely recognized symbols around the world.
City Councilwoman Megan Maiani, who spoke on behalf of the council, thanked the VFW and American Legion posts for holding the Flag Day observance.
“Being here today allows us to really feel and experience the entire ceremony, and to be able to take this information and go out into our communities to spread the hope that this flag stands for,” she said.