July 4, 1776—Our great country came into being with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. June 14, 1777—The flag with thirteen stars and thirteen stripes…one star and strip for each original colony…became the Official Flag of the United States. By the year 1831, the number of stars on the flag had already been increased to 24. It was during this year that Shipmaster Capt. Stephen Driver was presented a beautiful new flag for his ship. As the banner opened to the ocean breeze for the first time, he exclaimed “Old Glory!” The story goes that after he retired from the sea he moved to Nashville, TN, where he evidently flew his treasured “Old Glory” at his home for all to see. When Tennessee seceded from the Union, Rebel soldiers wanted to destroy his flag but could not find it through repeated searches of his home. When Union forces captured Nashville on February 25th, 1862, they raised the American flag over the capital. However, the flag they had with them was small compared to the one Capt. Driver owned and the Union soldiers began to ask him if “Old Glory” still existed. The Captain…..we may imagine with a sly smile on his lips…went home and began to tear apart the quilt on his bed. Between the quilt-top and the batting there was his beloved original “Old Glory”. He lovingly carried his treasure to the capitol where it flew in honor. That was the beginning of the nickname our national flag so fondly is called…”Old Glory”.
Every time I look at our Stars and Stripes I fill with many emotions…pride, happiness, gratitude. What a privilege I have had to grow up here in the United States of America! I can worship God, I can travel freely, I can attend public meetings, I can speak my opinion, I can write my convictions, I can own property, I can vote, and I can do so many more things because I am free here in this land.
June 6, 1953—I was born into this United States of America, a free citizen. September 3, 1978—I was “born again” into the Family of God when I accepted Christ as my personal Saviour. By this time, the years of my life had already been increased to 25. As the banner of His Love opened over my life for the first time, I exclaimed, “Oh, Glory!”. (“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” Song of Solomon 2:4) It has now been another 33 years…almost…that I have been flying that Banner of Love in my life and in my home. The devil has tried many times to destroy this flag but could not find it though he has repeatedly searched for it. It’s hiding place is in my heart. It’s my prayer that I may always keep my eyes on the Banner of God’s love and His salvation so that I may go forward to meet the enemy with courage and not fear. (“We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners….” Psalms 20: 5a)
It is with much gratitude that I want to say “Thank You” to all the American soldiers who have served our country to keep this great land free! Their banner is “Old Glory” and it encourages them to go forward and meet the enemy with valor.
And with even more gratitude I want to say “Thank You” to Jesus Christ for placing his Banner of Love over an old sinner like me! Because of this, I am free! ( “And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free. John 8:32) “OH, GLORY!!”
Happy Independence Day !!