Where the Flag Still Stands for Freedom
Karen and Jay share the excitement and honor in celebrating our wonderful American flag.
There is no more powerful symbol of freedom than our precious American flag. Whether you are at an event and participating in the Pledge of Allegiance, or at a stadium listening to the national anthem or even just walking down the street and seeing an American flag displayed at a home in your neighborhood – the feeling is always the same. One of great reverence and pride. Reverence for all the brave men and women who have fought to defend our freedom. And pride in America – as the beacon of hope to the world – committed to liberty, equality, and justice for all.
And, it is at this time of year, we take a moment to celebrate our wonderful American flag. While not a federal holiday akin to the Fourth of July, this week is ‘National Flag Week’ – spanning from June 11th thru June 18th. Highlighted by ‘Flag Day’ that we celebrated earlier this week on June 14th, it’s a time of recognition that holds an important place in the history of our nation, acknowledging the day in 1777 when our then fledgling nation adopted Old Glory as it has been called, as the official colors of the “thirteen United States”.
While taking a break from drafting the Articles of Confederation, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution which, “resolved, that the flag be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” For George Washington, this was an important symbolic step towards unifying colonial fighting forces who at times were flying what were known as the “Continental Colors”, a flag that was composed of thirteen alternating red and white stripes, but which had the Union Jack in place of our now famed stars. He felt that any use of the Union Jack was a demoralizing symbol that could hurt morale in the fight for freedom from British rule.
While Flag Day was observed in an unofficial capacity by some following the end of the Revolution, it wasn't until 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that Flag Day be observed every year on June 14th. Even then, Flag Day wasn’t officially codified until August 3rd, 1949, when congress approved its national observance, and President Harry Truman officially signed it into law.
Throughout our history, our flag, much like our nation, has consistently evolved. From the original 13 stars, signifying a new constellation and our new, unified nation, to the 50 which now adorn it, our flag is a powerful symbol of our shared history, our shared sacrifice, and our unwavering belief in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. During the course of the year, we display the flag at home, in schools, on government buildings, and at local businesses. But Flag Day itself is a day to reflect on the symbol of freedom and unity that the American flag represents and to show appreciation for the country's history and values. So, this weekend, if you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to get out your American flag and display it proudly in honor of this magnificent symbol of our great nation.
Flags of Valor – Honoring Veterans - Passing Freedom on to the Next Generation
Flags of Valor is a business. The company makes beautiful wooden painted American flags, coin-holders, flag patches made out of actual combat uniforms and even a kids’ product – a fun flag building kit that includes a booklet that teaches children lessons about our America. And while, yes, it is a business – and an exciting, growing one at that, it is also much more than a business. Flags of Valor is an organization that is on a critically worthwhile mission. Honoring our veterans and passing freedom on to the next generation.
The company got its start in 2015 as its founder Brian Steorts, a former Special Operations pilot, was recovering from a service-related injury. In leaving the military, he felt a void. The American flag had been an integral part of his daily life – and he missed it. So, one day, he decided to use his woodworking skills and go into his garage to make an American flag built of wood. He then gifted this first flag to a neighbor who had lost her husband in the military. For Brian, this was an emotional and highly meaningful experience. As a result, Brian was determined to carry the mission forward – and this was the starting point for Flags of Valor.
Since that time, the company has employed approximately 70 veterans - all of whom have played a key role in its success. In fact, every wooden flag that is made is signed on the back by the veteran who made it. Moreover, the company has also been a generous supporter of veterans – making donations to veterans’ organizations valued at nearly $2 million dollars.
Not surprisingly, the company has earned a positive national reputation – having appeared on a number of news shows, including ABC World News Tonight, CNBC, Fox & Friends and more. You might enjoy taking a quick look at this short clip from Fox & Friends where the FOV teams describes the company, mission and products. https://youtu.be/DLPyySB8RGg
I am so honored to be able to work with such a great group of patriots - they never stop giving back. These are exciting and busy times - having just celebrated one of the company’s most important holiday events - Flag Day. And, now with only a few short weeks from the 4th of July festivities, I invite you to visit flagsofvalor.com and take a look at the amazing craftsmanship and wonderful products the company has to offer.
In addition, if you know of an organization interested in partnering with Flags of Valor, please reach out to us. There are so many great organizations working with Flags of Valor who are doing wonderful things to promote veterans by supporting military family initiatives. If you happen to purchase something online, I invite you to use promo code ElliotPerry at checkout. A portion of the sale will go directly to the Elliot Perry Foundation, which is working to raise $30,000 to build a military themed playground to honor veterans and military families.
Old Glory – The History and Evolution
The history of the American flag is deeply intertwined with the essence of patriotism and the indomitable American spirit. From its humble beginnings to its iconic status as a symbol of national pride, the flag represents the ideals and aspirations of the United States of America. Yet not everyone is familiar with the background and evolution of our national symbol.
Not surprisingly, the story of the American flag can be traced back to the Revolutionary War, when thirteen colonies united in their fight for independence from British rule. In 1777, the Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution, establishing the design of the flag with thirteen alternating red and white stripes symbolizing the original colonies, and a field of blue with thirteen white stars representing a new constellation of states. This first official flag, known as the "Stars and Stripes," embodied the collective spirit of the American revolutionaries and their determination to forge a new nation.
Over the years, as the United States expanded westward and welcomed new states into the Union, the flag evolved. With the addition of each new star and stripe, it grew to represent the ever-expanding American spirit. Each state's unique history and contributions were symbolized by the stars, while the stripes continued to remind Americans of their shared heritage and unity.
The flag has witnessed moments of great triumph and resilience throughout American history. It flew proudly over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem. It served as a beacon of hope during the Civil War, symbolizing the Union's commitment to preserving the principles of freedom and equality. It flew high above the battlefields of World War I, World War II, and subsequent conflicts, reminding soldiers of the ideals they were fighting to protect.
The American flag has also been a powerful symbol of unity and solidarity in times of national tragedy. In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the flag became a rallying point for the American people, displaying their unwavering resolve and resilience in the face of adversity. It was a visible expression of the American spirit, reflecting a shared sense of duty, sacrifice, and love for the country.
Thanks to all those who proudly displayed their flags on Flag Day and of course, the premier opportunity and reason to display our flag is coming up shortly - July 4th Independence Day! So, if you don’t have a flag – now is a perfect time to get one – and participate with fellow Americans in displaying the flag proudly as we celebrate yet another year of American independence!
Positive Profile of the Week: Brian Steorts – Founder of Flags of Valor
We are delighted this week to profile a great friend, patriot, and veteran – as well as a highly successful entrepreneur - Brian Steorts.
Brian is the founder of Flags of Valor and how he came to create a nationally branded company is nothing short of amazing.
Brian was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne. After being honorably discharged, he entered the private sector for a period of time - but felt compelled to defend our freedoms after the horrific 9/11 attacks. Brian would re-enlist and become a pilot for the U.S. Air Force’s Special Operations Command. After eight deployments, Brian was unfortunately suffering from a service-related injury. It was during his rehabilitation that his commitment to not only defending the flag would continue but his determination to promote it too. You see, he actually was looking at his t-shirt during rehabilitation and wished that more people would be wearing one like his with the colors.
He would use his passion for the flag and what it stood for as inspiration and determination. He took up woodworking and started to make small American flag carvings. He would donate the flags to causes and also give them to veterans. But, he knew he could do more. He knew he could help veterans who needed a purpose while at the same time continue to grow a commitment to our flag and become part of something so much more moving and important to our nation. Thus, was born Flags of Valor.
Brian is committed to ensuring veterans as well as current members of the military have a place to land following their service. While there are many in our country who help with work placement, Brian is a leader and will never stop ensuring his brothers-in-arms have a place to continue their service post military careers.
Brian is a patriot we can all admire and hope to emulate. I am honored not only to call him a partner but a friend. And for those in NH on Thursday, June 29th, you can come and meet Brian and hear his story first hand as he will be a featured speaker at our Manchester Sunshine Day which is being held at the St Anselm’s NH Institute of Politics. Please use this link Sunshine Week Activities Eventbrite Link to register (free) and also look at the other Sunshine Events during the week especially in the Newport/Claremont area!
Quotes of the Week: Celebrating Our American Flag
"The American flag is the symbol of our freedom, national pride, and unity." - Ronald Reagan "Our flag honors those who have fought to protect it, and is a reminder of the sacrifice of our nation's founders and heroes." - Barack Obama "The American flag represents the hopes and dreams of millions around the world who seek freedom and opportunity." - George W. Bush "The stars and stripes of our flag represent the values and principles that make America great - liberty, justice, and equality for all." - Joe Biden "The American flag is more than just cloth and ink; it is a symbol of our country, our people, and the spirit of democracy." - Bill Clinton