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What does the U.S. flag really mean?

by Jocelyn on June 14, 2011

Flag Day is June 14th of every year. A day set aside to honor the American Flag, a symbol to Americans and the world of the values our country was founded on, of our freedoms, and that we will continue to stand strong as we fight against forces of the enemy. In fact, the reason the flag is backwards on all the shoulders of our service members uniforms is because that is what it looks like as the flag is carried forward.

After 9/11/01 Americans proudly displayed Old Glory everywhere possible as a symbol of unity. America was inundated with flags waving from homes, businesses, and vehicles. Bumper stickers, clothing, jewelry, and accessories were created with the notorious red, white and blue. The companies making flags couldn’t keep up with the orders because patriotism was rampant.

I remember as a child pledging my allegiance to the flag each morning in school, learning the proper etiquette of caring for it, reading about Betsy Ross, and seeing it displayed on appropriate holidays. I was taught the 13 stripes represented the original colonies and the stars represented the number of states, which are all correct. However, because I didn’t recall ever learning the reason for the colors of the flag I recently looked them up and was pleasantly surprised with what I learned.

The colors originated with the Great Seal that was adopted in America in June 1782. The blood red signifies hardiness (durability) and valor (courage); white, purity (cleanliness) and innocence (blameless); and the blue, vigilance  (awareness), perseverance (determination), and justice (righteous). It amazes me that more than 225 years ago, the meanings of the colors chosen to represent the United States of America would continue to be the foundation of our military. A military that has grown and changed immensely, yet remains true to its

roots of durability, courage, awareness, determination and integrity.

Something else I noticed about the red, white and blue is that their meanings also apply to having a personal relationship with Jesus. The red reminds us of the blood Jesus shed for us, and the courage it takes to follow Him. The white is a picture of our sins being washed clean, as we stand blameless before Him, and the blue represents the vigilance and determination it takes to continually live our life for the One that is truly just and righteous.

As we take a day to celebrate the flag that waves majestically in the breeze at our nation’s capital, sports stadiums, schools and on our own homes, let’s honor not just the symbol, but also all it represents. Take time to reflect on our great country and its military, which has only gotten stronger through the years. Our desire should be to imitate their constant forward movement in our walk with the Lord by continuing to stand strong with honor and integrity as we fight the enemy; an example of all that the red, white and blue represents.

Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”

Joshua 10:19 “But don’t stop; pursue your enemies! Attack them from the rear and don’t let them reach their cities, for the LORD your God has given them into your hand.”

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”

Kathy Guzzo is a mom of a Marine and leader of Hope @ Home, a group of women with loved ones in the military. This devotional was reprinted by permission from her June 7, 2011, Hope at Home newsletter. To subscribe to her newsletter, send her a request at Join the Hope at Home Facebook page here.

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