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Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue!

Stars and Stripes Forever!

Happy Independance Day, everybody! This is the day we celebrate the birth of the United States of America with the unanimous ratification of the Declaration of Independence. This document was the culmination of years of unrest with England and long days of debate ending in a the unanimous vote of the Second Continental Congress. Penned by 33 year old Thomas Jefferson, it began this way: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident..."

London didn't find out until August 10.

Purportedly, George Washington had visited Betsy Ross in June and asked her to produce the first flag for the new nation. It was flown when the Declaration was read at Independance Hall on July 8. Here's a Flag FAQ for all those nagging questions.

No meaning was explicitly ascribed to the colors of the flag at the time when she was comissioned to make it, but in 1782, the same colors were chosen for the Great Seal of the United States: white to mean purity and innocence, red for valor and hardiness, and blue for vigilance, perseverance and justice.

And did you know that we have a National March? Well, we do - Stars and Stripes Forever! It was published by John Philips Sousa in 1896. While the melody is well known, I didn't know there were lyrics to it until I began research for this post. Here they are; read along as you listen to the Marine Band play this wonderfully stirring piece of music:

Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom's shield and hope.

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with might endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.


(You can also listen to other patriotic favorites and even download ringtones here.)

Oh - and I figure you'll be eating enough at your own BBQs today, so we're only serving cake in The Diner.

Flag Cake

Posted by Lyana on Jul 04, 2009 10:00 am

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