June 17, 2015

Flag Day has Special Significance to West Virginia | Times West Virginian

Every day, Americans all across this great land pledge their allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. We salute it; we fight for it; we cherish it; we honor it. But one day a year, we pay special tribute to our flag. We set aside every June 14 as Flag Day, commemorating the date in 1777 when the Continental Congress officially made the Stars and Stripes the symbol of America.

Flag Day has a special significance to West Virginia. Our state was born out of the bloody conflict of the Civil War. At that time, West Virginians had a choice between two flags. We chose to follow the Stars and Stripes – and in doing so, West Virginia became the 35th star on that Grand Old Flag. Like all West Virginians, I feel a special surge of emotion every time I see the American flag. After all, Old Glory is the most enduring symbol of our country, representing the unity of our people and the cause of liberty and justice for all.

As I have always said, West Virginians are among the most patriotic people in our county. This is something I have observed throughout my entire life, and it is a belief that was renewed yet again this past week as my staff and I presented flags to celebrate the holiday. We have been truly honored to visit towns across the Mountain State to celebrate the flag and give special thanks to those who have defended the very freedoms that we hold dear.

One of our last Flag Day stops will be today in my beloved hometown of Fairmont. My staff will be at the Korean War Memorial at East Marion Park at 4 p.m. I encourage local residents to come out and participate in the presentation of the flag to honor those who have served this country.

Today, I am proud to be participating in Flag Day festivities at the closing public picnic of the 2015 Ride for Fallen Service Heroes at the West Virginia National Guard Armory in Charleston. After serving as the Special Guest Road Captain for the event, I will present flags to Gold Star Family members, the Vietnam Veterans of America and to the West Virginia National Guard, all groups that I support wholeheartedly.

I invite my fellow Mountaineers and fellow Americans to join me in the celebrations and in paying tribute to Old Glory. In doing so, we honor not only our flag, but also the ideals on which America was founded as well as the generations of Americans who have defended those ideals in battle.

When I was a child, my Uncle Jimmy taught me a little poem I think captures how the flag represents us as Americans:

It’s only some stripes of red and white.
It’s only some stars on a field of blue.
t’s only a little cotton flag.
Does it mean anything to you?
Oh yes it does,
For beneath its folds
Our people are safe at land and sea.
It stands for a land where God is still king,
And His truth and His freedoms are free.
So let us love it well
And keep it pure as our banner of liberty.

This “little cotton flag” is displayed proudly in our homes, in our schools and businesses, over the Capitol and White House, in parades and ballparks, on the field of battle and on the graves of the heroes who fought in those battles. It has flown from the tops of mountains, from the 9/11 rubble of Ground Zero, over the scarred wall of the Pentagon and on the surface of the moon.

May our beautiful flag forever wave, and may God forever bless the country for which it stands.

By:  Sen. Joe Manchin