"In June 1813, Major George Armistead arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, to take command of Fort McHenry, built to guard the water entrance to the city. Armistead commissioned Mary Pickersgill, a Baltimore flag maker, to sew two flags for the fort: a smaller storm flag (17 by 25 ft) and a larger garrison flag (30 by 42 ft). She was hired under a government contract and was assisted by her daughter, two nieces, and an indentured African-American girl. The larger of these two flags would become known as the “Star-Spangled Banner” [above]. Pickersgill stitched it from a combination of dyed English wool bunting (red and white stripes and blue union) and white cotton (stars)." From "Star-Spangled Banner and the War of 1812," Encyclopedia Smithsonian.
In honor of Old Glory's 231st birthday, a reprint of our June 14, 2005 post "By the dawn's early light":
It's Flag Day, June 14. We know 'cause when we three siblings were youngsters our mother used to make us keep journals during our idyllic summers by the sea. The school year had ended, and we had made the annual drive with bag and baggage from Exeter to Cedar Ledge, the rented summer cottage on Cape Ann. Desperately seeking topics -- then as now -- that June 14 long ago we were able to enter a drawing of the flag with a brief sentence or two on the meaning of it all. Unfortunately, our summer journals became infested with paper-eating insects and were eventually consigned to the dustbin of history. Happy 228th Birthday, Old Glory. You're a grand old flag:
Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
--"The Star-Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key
We remember the first inklings of the emasculating Marx-lite mindset beginning to infiltrate our elementary and high school classrooms in the fifties and sixties, when reflexively p.c. teachers -- before anyone really knew what p.c. was -- told us there was no such thing as human nature and keened that we shouldn't have a battle hymn for a national anthem. We should change it to "America the Beautiful," they told us. While we love the poetry and religious fervor of "Oh, beautiful for spacious skies," with its unspoken recognition of what used to be called "Manifest Destiny," as a national anthem it falls short, missing the point that came crashing into our consciousness on that awful 9/11: Freedom isn't free.
"The Iranian election: Things are about to explode," captions Dr. Zin of Regime Change Iran over this captionless cartoon by Iranian Nikahang Kowsar blogging from Toronto. Elections are scheduled for this Friday, the day after tomorrow.
Speaking of freedom, "The blogosphere should stand with these brave people," writes Dr. Zin of Regime Change Iran in his "Monday's Daily Briefing in Iran" yesterday. Will the Spirit of '05 that blessed the world with a rainbow of bloodless revolutions sparked by events in Iraq and Afghanistan help make Iran the newest land of the free? We already know it's the home of the brave. Dr. Zin continues:
The Association of Writers in Iran has called for a protest and sit-in in front of the Evin Prison in Tehran tomorrow to show their solidarity with political prisoners. This happens on June 14, from 4–6 pm. The families of political prisoners and student associations are also joining in
Together, we can make sure the mainstream media takes notice. These are the 21st century version of the soviet dissidents. They are pleading for the world to take notice. Let not let them down again.
Iran has its cartoonists, and we have ours. If one picture is worth a thousand words, Chris Muir's Day by Day three-panel cartoons are priceless, especially today's, which touched our heart and made our spirit soar:
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. So do the swingin' ladies of this week's Cotillion, now accepting dance-card signatures: Darleen's Place, Who Tends the Fires and Right Girl.
Update II: We like The Glittering Eye's take: "I never really got 'The Star Spangled Banner' until after 9/11."
Update III: This is cool. Kevin Aylward of Wizbang! includes this post in a list of "Ten headlines that you can't help but click through to read more."