June 14, 2013

Manchin Pays Tribute to American Flag

Senator Manchin and staff members participated in flag presentations across West Virginia to honor Flag Day

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today celebrated Flag Day by honoring veterans and meeting with seniors, community leaders and area residents in Greenbrier County. He spent the morning at Fairlea Senior Center and then paid tribute to the American flag with a community flag presentation at Greenbrier County Community Based Outpatient Clinic.

Senator Manchin also submitted into the official record a congressional record statement to commemorate Flag Day.

Representatives from Senator Manchin’s office also spent Friday recognizing Flag Day in West Virginia by making stops in Logan, Braxton, Ohio, Jefferson, Wood, Hardy and Barbour counties to present flags to the local communities.

“Like all West Virginians, I feel a special surge of emotion every time I see the American flag,” Senator Manchin said. “Every day, schoolchildren, Scouts, veterans, Senators – in fact, Americans all across this great land – pledge their allegiance to the Stars and Stripes. But one day a year, we pay special honor to our flag. I am thankful to celebrate Flag Day with fellow West Virginians, especially during our state’s 150th birthday. Displaying the flag, our most enduring symbol, represents the unity of our people and the cause of liberty and justice for all.”

To see photos from the Flag Day events, please click here.

Below is the full text of Senator Manchin’s congressional record statement:

Mr. President, 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.

But the Star Spangled Banner is also the most recognized symbol of freedom wherever it flies in the world, a powerful inspiration to people everywhere who are “yearning to breathe free,” as it is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.

Every day, Americans all across this great land pledge their allegiance to flag of the United States. We salute it; we fight for it; we cherish it; we honor it.

But one day a year, we pay special honor to our flag. We set aside every June 14th as Flag Day, commemorating the date in 1777 when the Continental Congress officially made the Stars and Stripes the symbol of America.

Tomorrow, my office is planning special events in West Virginia commemorating Flag Day. Members of my staff will be presenting American flags to selected organizations all across the state that have requested flags:

To veterans in Logan at the “Spirit of the Doughboy” statue, which honors the victorious American soldiers of World War One.

To the Veterans Museum of Mid-Ohio Valley in Parkersburg, which pays tribute to West Virginians who have fought to preserve this country’s freedom.

To Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, in conjunction with its Team River Runner program which includes kayaking programs for wounded warriors and their families.

To American Legion Post 33, in Sutton, honoring them for conducting memorial services for veterans in Braxton County.

To the City Council of Wardensville, to be displayed at the Wardensville Town Office.

To the “Here And There” Transit of Philippi, as part of the dedication of its new operations facilities.

And to the West Virginia Northern Community College in Wheeling, which only last month opened its Applied Technology Center to veterans and other students.

Mr. President, Flag Day has a special significance to West Virginia. Our state was born out of the fiery conflict of the Civil War, and next week we will celebrate our 150th birthday.

In that terrible war, West Virginians had a choice of 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.

So as we prepare for our state’s 150th birthday celebration, I urge all West Virginians to join me in celebrating Flag Day – by displaying the flag that from the first days of America came to symbolize a “new constellation” of hope and freedom and from the first days of West
Virginia came to represent an allegiance to our remarkable Constitution.

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, always ensuring at the end of the fight that “our flag was still there.”

The Star Spangled Banner is a symbol of their sacrifice and our faith.

Mr. President, not long after Congress officially adopted the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States, George Washington said, “We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty.”

But a little poem I learned as a child from my Uncle Jimmy perfectly captures how I feel about the American flag even now:

It’s only some stripes of red and white.
It’s only some stars on a field of blue.
It’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.

Mr. President, this “little cotton flag” is displayed proudly in our homes, in our schools, in our businesses, over the Capitol and the 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 from the surface of the moon – not once, not twice, but six times.

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