Honoring Our Fallen Brave with Old Glory

Originally named as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Many will choose to spend the three day holiday weekend with family. Some will visit the resting place of their military loved ones. Others will fly the American Flag at half-staff until noon in respect of our fallen heroes. Everywhere you look this weekend you’ll see the colors of our Nation’s flag. Have you ever wondered about the significance of our flag and what it means to honor our fallen brave with it?

Old Glory

The United States Flag was fondly nick-named “Old Glory” around 1820.  It is the third oldest National Standard in the world.

“It embodies the essence of patriotism. Its spirit is the spirit of the American nation. Its history is the history of the American people. Emblazoned upon its folds in letters of living light are the names and fame of our heroic dead, the Fathers of the Republic who devoted upon its altars their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.”- History of the Flag by USACityLink.com.

The Red, White & Blue Flowers and American Flag at crypt

Old Glory Red is for valor, zeal and fervency.

The White is for hope purity, cleanliness of life, and rectitude of conduct.

Old Glory Blue, the color of heaven, is for  loyalty, sincerity, justice and truth.

The Stars & Stripes

Originally, the stars and stripes both represented the 13 colonies of the union. As more states were admitted to the union, it became clear there would be too many stripes. So in 1818 Congress declared that the stripes would be restricted to represent the original 13 founding colonies and a star would be added for every state. The stars symbolize the individual sovereignty and aspirations of each state.

Star-Spangled Banner

After witnessing a battle at Fort McHenry in 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem “Defense of Fort M’Henry”. This poem became the lyrics for “The Star Spangled Banner”. One hundred years later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson declared “The Star-Spangled Banner” be our national anthem.

National Anthem Lyrics

O 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?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

National Moment of Remembrance

In December of 2000, The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed which asks that at
3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps”.

While there are no official words to the music of Taps here are some of the early popular verses of “Go To Sleep, Go To Sleep” that were sung almost 200 years ago.

Go to Sleep, Go to Sleep Lyrics for Taps

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
‘Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.