Why We Need Celebrate Flag Day

Why Do We Need to Celebrate National Flag Day?

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans8 Minutes

America has an identity crisis, and we need to celebrate National Flag Day to help us find our shared identity once again. The American flag is much more than a symbol: it expresses the eternal values that united people in 1776 – and can do so today!

We need to celebrate National Flag Day to remind us of our identity as Americans, our founding principles, the character we aspire to, and our hope for the future.  Those shared beliefs are the foundation of the United States – and our hope for remaining UNITED.

The celebration of National Flag Day – like every celebration day – is about ideology not idolatry. Our flag is a symbol that conveys deeply held convictions – the foundation, fabric, and future of our nation. We celebrate to honor the heart of America not to idolize a symbol or the execution of the ideals we proclaim.

A Bit of Flag Day History

On June 14, 1777 the Continental Congress approved the design of a flag for the newly formed United States of America! In the decades that followed many would organize celebrations of the Stars and Stripes but it was a Wisconsin school teacher, Bernard J. Cigrand, now considered the Father of Flag Day, who spearheaded the drive for an official celebration. Finally, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation for the first official nationwide Flag Day. It would be another 33 years before President Harry Truman signed an act of Congress that designated June 14 as National Flag Day.

Our American flag has undergone a couple dozen changes since its first creation. The most common fact about the flag’s history – that the first one was made by Betsy Ross – cannot be substantiated. And there’s no official document giving meaning for the colors of the flag. But none of that compromises what the American flag represents.

It is commonly believed that:

  • the red of our flag symbolizes valor;
  • the white calls us to purity, and
  • the blue speaks of justice.

The original flag placed the 13 stars of the original colonies in a circle symbolizing equality among the states. Today, of course, it is Old Glory’s stripes which remind us of those original colonies.

The creation of the national flag coincided with the Declaration of Independence – and replaced the individual colonial flags. Nations must have unity around principles that all agree upon – a vision that can guide a diverse people forward.

Our Nation Needs Unity

When our nation was founded, we shared more commonalities. The majority of the population was Christian, the founding documents quote the Bible more than any other literary source, English was the common language, and there were many shared struggles. In fact, Founding Father, John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Today, America has much greater diversity of faith, fewer adherents of the Bible, multiple languages, and vastly different economic realities that divide us as citizens. We need to come together around the virtues proclaimed by our flag: valor, purity, and justice! And quite frankly, as John Adams indicated, Christianity is the source of those qualities – so we who bear Christ’s name have a greater responsibility to portray those attributes.

The Link Between Christianity and Patriotism

For Christians, the ideology of the founding of America aligns with our understanding of God’s call for right living. National Flag Day reminds us of our Christian identity and our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage. Our faith affirms the good things all Americans stand for …

Our Christian faith prepares us to celebrate National Flag Day, and compels us to live for the high values of the United States of America more passionately than any others. Let’s consider how the American flag proclaims truths of God we rejoice and celebrate every day.

Valor speaks of strength, power, and substance. A Christian citizen should exude valor. We are to be people of substance who can be relied upon. Our status as children of God allows us to be filled with His strength and power. It is the Christian who can step up with valor to pursue purity and justice.

Purity is the expression of God’s goodness and holiness. Jesus Christ is the expression of that divine attribute. Only in Christ can we pursue purity – our fallen human nature gravitates toward sin. The proclaimed desire of America for pure motives and right actions is a vision given by God and actively pursued by believers in Christ.

Justice, too, is the heart of God. His longing – expressed from Genesis to Revelation – is for his favorite creation (the one made in His own image) to live and love like He does. But God knew before he spoke the first word of creation that man would fall short of His glory. So, He sent His own Son to redeem creation and open the way to justice. Devotion to the Truth of Jesus Christ brought many to America and created a nation which allows us to pursue Jesus freely!

What a privilege to live in a country that set such lofty goals at its founding. Valor, purity, and justice cannot be reached without Jesus Christ. Christian, we have a weighty responsibility to celebrate National Flag Day for Jesus’ sake and in His ways. America is not a godly nation, but as Christians who are American, we can see and seek unity in America with a power and purpose God Himself instills in us.

Lest you still have doubt about the validity of honoring a flag, you may be interested to know flags are mentioned frequently in Scripture. The tribes of Israel all had their own flag (standard). In song of Solomon, the love of God is used analogously to a banner or flag. Finally, God Himself is proclaimed as Jehovah Nissi, our victory flag! The flag you honor matters deeply.