One thing that I have become aware of as I’ve grown older and have lived in the ‘burbs’ as well as in rural Pennsylvania is how much Americans love our country and love our flag. I cannot honestly say that I have always felt that way as during the Vietnam War era I protested our involvement in the war by not standing or removing my hat for the colors. I never burnt or desecrated the flag but used this as a sign of my personal war protest. Today, I am a different person. A flag is prominently displayed in front of our house 365 days a year. It is my way to show how much I love our country and all that it stands for.
According to usflag.com ‘Old Glory’s’ name was coined by Captain William Driver, a shipmaster of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1831. As he was leaving on one of his many voyages aboard the brig CHARLES DOGGETT – and this one would climax with the rescue of the mutineers of the BOUNTY – some friends presented him with a beautiful flag of twenty four stars. As the banner opened to the ocean breeze for the first time, he exclaimed “Old Glory!”
He retired to Nashville in 1837, taking his treasured flag from his sea days with him. By the time the Civil War erupted, most everyone in and around Nashville recognized Captain Driver’s “Old Glory.” When Tennesee seceded from the Union, Rebels were determined to destroy his flag, but repeated searches revealed no trace of the hated banner.
Then on February 25th, 1862, Union forces captured Nashville and raised the American flag over the capital. It was a rather small ensign and immediately folks began asking Captain Driver if “Old Glory” still existed. Happy to have soldiers with him this time, Captain Driver went home and began ripping at the seams of his bedcover. As the stitches holding the quilt-top to the batting unraveled, the onlookers peered inside and saw the 24-starred original “Old Glory”!
Captain Driver gently gathered up the flag and returned with the soldiers to the capitol. Though he was sixty years old, the Captain climbed up to the tower to replace the smaller banner with his beloved flag. The Sixth Ohio Regiment cheered and saluted – and later adopted the nickname “Old Glory” as their own, telling and re-telling the story of Captain Driver’s devotion to the flag we honor yet today.
The Old Glory Blog that I posted last week was dedicated to my friend Jason Sanchez who is serving in Afghanistan to protect our freedom. Today I share more images of our flag as displayed by Americans all over our great country.