Betsy Ross Day… Kind of.

In honor of this year’s Flag Day holiday I’ve decided to research the history of the holiday and the history of some of the flags that have played a significant role in my life…    

    

History of Flag Day…

The date of Flag Day, June 14th, was officially established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 but a slew of patriots and United States citizens also played a part in the establishment of the holiday.    

It was first celebrated on June 14th, 1861 in the city of Hartford, Connecticut at the suggestion George Morris. The day involved “carrying out a program of a patriotic order, praying for the success of the Federal arms and the preservation of the Union.”    

Unfortunately, at the time, the day was never able to root itself into American tradition.    

Despite its early failure, a number of citizens, both groups and prominent individuals, made an effort to help solidify Flag Day as an American staple. Although it is only a state holiday and not a federal holiday (Sorry, classes aren’t cancelled and you don’t get the day off from work.), citizens still do their part in honoring its occurence.    

Modern day programs include “a ceremonial raising of the flag, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem (The Star-spangled Banner), a parade and more.”    

     

    

First Up: Trinidad & Tobago

    

 Sweet, sweet T&T, my dear mother and father’s homeland. The flag of Trinidad and Tobago was adopted upon the country’s  independence from Great Britain on August 31st 1962. Located in the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago’s flag while under British rule was a “British blue ensign defaced with a circular badge depicting a ship arriving in front of a mountain.” (r.)    

Once attaining its independence a flag was chosen by the Independence committee in 1962. The colors, Red, Black & White, represent a trinity of symbolic virtues:    

  • Red: Symbolizes Fire (The Sun) which represents Courage.

  • Black: Symbolizes Earth which represents Dedication.

  • White: Symbolizes Water which represents Purity and Equality.

Second: New York City

    

New York City, our nation’s cultural capital and a playground to me and 8 million other distinguished residents. The tricolor design of New York City’s flag dates back to 1652 and is taken from the flag of the United Netherlands. The flag is appropriately rooted revolution, it originally was referred to as “The Prince’s Flag” (r.) and was used by Prince of Orange when he assumed leadership in the revolution against King Philip II of Spain.    

“The office of Mayor of New York City has its own official variant, to which is added an arc of five five-pointed stars (representing each of the five boroughs) in blue above the seal.” The colors are also worn by the NBA’s New York Knickerbockers and the MLB’s New York Mets.    

  • Bald Eagle: The symbol of the United States of America.

  • Native Americans: The original inhabitants of the area.

  • Seaman: Symbolizes the colonisers of the area.

  • Beaver: Symbolizes the VOC; the Dutch East India Company, which was the first company in New York (called Nieuw Amsterdam back then).

  • Windmill: Remembers the Dutch history of the city and the prosperous industry of milling flour.

  • Flour barrels: The industry.

  • 1625: The year in which the city of Nieuw Amsterdam was founded by the Dutch.


    

Third: Bronx County

     

My birthplace and borough of residency, the Bronx. It’s well known that Hip-Hop had its start here but few are knowledgeable of the borough’s flag. The Bronx started to flourish as a railroad suburb in the late 19th century and expanded with the introduction of elevated railways.    

The borough suffered a decline from the late 50’s to the late 70’s due to immoral business ethic and roadway construction but has recently experienced an economical boost since the 80’s. The flag was adopted in 1912 and shares the same tricolor design as the New York City flag.    

  • Laurel Wreath: Symbolizes Honor and Fame.

  • The Shield (Showing the face of the sun with rays displayed rising from the sea): Symbolizes Peace, Liberty and Commerce.

  • Eagle Facing Eastward: Symbolizes “the hope of the New World while not forgetting the Old.”

  •  Ne Cede Malis: Serves  as the borough’s motto, means “Yield Not to Evil”.

Happy Flag Day homes!

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