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Old Glory
For Flag Day, Kevin Fisher-Paulson celebrates the Stars and Stripes.

By Kevin Fisher-Paulson

I'm no vexillologist, but I love the Stars and Stripes.

The United States flag was adopted on June 14, 1777 and is the fourth oldest national flag in the world. Denmark's flag, adopted in 1219, is the oldest.

Originally portraying 13 stars and 13 stripes, Old Glory added stars as states joined the union. The current version is just as old as me, adopted in 1959 as Alaska and Hawaii became states, designed by Robert G. Heft as a class project. Originally, he received a B minus grade, but the when Congress adopted his design the teacher gave him an A.

President Wilson proclaimed Flag Day on June 14, 1916. Then, we then adopted the Flag Code which describes how we should salute the flag which stands for all that we hold dear. But in the past century we have let go of some of that reverence.
 
In my middle years, I value the flag more. Oh I'm still as liberal as they get and the first to defend the ACLU, but this is not the flag of the far right, it is the flag of all of us. It is the symbol of the liberty that lets me protest that my marriage is as good as any other American marriage.

I never did like "The Star Spangled Banner." With a voice as bad as mine, it's impossible to sing and so it became background noise as I waited for the Giants game to start. But nowadays, I put my hand over my heart and think about Francis Scott Key in the War of 1812, held captive by the British, watching them attack Fort McHenry, and waiting until dawn to see if the Stars and Stripes were still flying and that America was still in business.

On Flag Day, take your hat off when you see Old Glory. Nod, if only for a moment, and think about how this flag waves over a nation so great you can disagree with me about anything.

With a Perspective, this is Kevin Fisher-Paulson.

Kevin Fisher-Paulson is a captain with the San Francisco Sheriffs Department.

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