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June 14, 2013

Nation’s flag: Symbol of strength, unity and freedom

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

Between 1777 and 1960, Congress passed several acts that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed for additional stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state. 
Today the flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with six white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. 
The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: red symbolizes hardiness and valor; white symbolizes purity and innocence; and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
During the course of their studies, the NJROTC cadets learn about the Pledge of Allegiance and the meaning of each word, phrase and sentence.
“We collect flags all year long that are worn, torn or are in such condition that they cannot be flown proudly, and on Veterans Day we have a Flag Retirement Ceremony so we can properly retire these flags in a dignified manner,” Jasper said. “We collect over a thousand flags each year.”
Flag Day, which is the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777, was officially established by a proclamation from President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916, but it wasn’t until Aug. 3, 1949 that President Truman signed at act of Congress designating June 14 each year as National Flag Day.
The idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the flag is believed to have originated in 1885 by a school teacher.
Nineteen-year-old Bernard J. Cigrand arranged for his students in Fredonia, Wis. to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as ‘Flag Birthday.’ He placed a 10-inch, 38-star flag in a bottle on his desk then assigned essays on the flag and its significance.
This observance was also the beginning of Cigrand’s long years of fervent and devoted effort to bring about national recognition and observance of Flag Day. 

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