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The flag was still there, and marches on

The American flag from 1912 to 1959.

Keep your eyes on the sky today, and you’ll see more American flags than usual.

We as a nation have set aside June 14 as Flag Day, a day to honor our national flag, which was adopted on June 14, 1777, by the Second Continental Congress.

According to USA.gov, the flag of the United States is a symbol of freedom before which Americans recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

The flag's 13 red and white stripes, the website continues, represent the 13 original colonies. Its 50 white stars on a blue background represent the 50 states.

Each of the colors on the flag has a meaning: Red for valor and bravery, white for purity and innocence, and blue for vigilance, perseverance and justice.

A star is added to the flag when a new state joins the union. The flag was last modified on July 4, 1960, after Hawaii was incorporated as a state.

A cursory bit of research indicates there are less that 10 Americans still alive from when there were 46 stars on the flag. In 1912, Oklahoma and Arizona joined the union, and in 1959, Alaska and Hawaii joined.

This also means there are millions of Americans alive today who saw the flag change from 48 stars to 50 stars.

There’s a possibility in our lifetimes Puerto Rico could join the union as a state, adding a 51st star to the flag.

And while it’s not happened in history, there’s also the outside possibility of states seceding from the union, subtracting stars.

The American flag, like the U.S. Constitution, is a living thing, subject to amendments.

The red, white and blue have flown in one form or another for more than 200 years, in times of national unity and times of national division. The important thing, though, is they have continued to fly. For hundreds of years, whether brilliantly bright and new or upside-down or tattered and burned or bullet-riddled, as Francis Scott Key noted in “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the flag was still there.

When Key wrote the national anthem, the flag he saw had 15 stars and 15 stripes. The American flag and the U.S. Constitution have changed, but they march on.

— RJ

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