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The American flag has remained a fundamental representation of liberty and freedom all throughout its withstanding 239 year tenure. During this time, the American flag has assumed a total of 27 different guises since its official date of inception – June 14, 1777. To many people, the flag represents a personal sense of pride, accomplishment or dignity. A nation’s flag is something to be honored and revered – something citizens are able to look towards during the hour of uncertainty. The flag of the United States is no exception. Our flag provides us with an innate appreciation for self-reliance and the ability to defend all of the truths we claim to be self-evident.
I believe the American flag is a direct representation of the self-evident truths of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This belief is rooted within my desire to serve my country in the future, as well as my four-year involvement within the NJROTC program. This program has exhibited to me what it means to be a citizen of this nation and how I can better understand and respect the flag, noting all that it represents. However, the flag is merely a tangible symbol. The intangible is what distinguishes its meaning from its appearance. Countless individuals have paid the ultimate price while serving under the direction of our nation’s colors. Since the very embodiment of the flag is centered upon sacrifice, we can easily see that many other factors play into this, such as; courage, pride, valor, distinction and honor. Without these, individual sacrifice wouldn’t exist. The emotional connection and the possible physical repercussions of serving under the American flag are both irreplaceable and unforgettable. They serve as a constant reminder as to why we choose to defend our freedoms as a nation, why we defend those who are unable to do so themselves and why we choose to stand firm in our beliefs as a country.
Although the emotional appeal of our nation’s flag is pertinent to how we perceive it as a people, the history of our flag holds a deeper, more relevant significance to our way of life. Originally, the American flag resembled nothing close to the flag we so cherish today. Instead of the red, white and blue, the first ‘American’ flag bore the hearty colors of green, white and black. The Pine Tree Flag, as it was called, was our nation’s first flag (unofficially). However, not to say it didn’t serve an official purpose! This flag was displayed during the Battle of Bunker Hill, bearing the phrase “An Appeal to Heaven”, which obviously aimed to place holy favor upon the colonists and their efforts of proclaiming freedom from Great Britain. This symbolic message of freedom still reigns true to this day. It may not relate to proclaiming freedom from another country, however, it does convey a need to maintain the daily freedoms we enjoy as Americans. The freedom to say what we think, the freedom to publish our thoughts and experiences through the press, the freedom to practice any religion of our choice, if any at all, and the freedom to live an unrestricted human life based on our own potential. Whether it be the first Pine Tree Flag or the current American flag, all of these freedoms required individual sacrifice. This is something we cannot take for granted.
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