Flag Of The United States Essay, Research Paper
The Flag Essay—What It Represents
The flag of the United States is very important to the citizens of the United States and their afflicted nations. The patchwork of stars and stripes gave relief to many, hope to even more, and a sense of impending doom to it’s enemies. Through history, the flag went through many tests, in which the flag that represented the Unites States proved victorious. It represented freedom and the land of opportunity. In other words, the US flag became an international symbol of freedom and opportunity.
As observed in the crossing of the Delaware, the early flag is in a way leading and rallying the men on their attack across the river. Although the era of the flag in the picture is incorrect, the meaning is clear. At that point, the test for the flag and the country it represented was: ‘Can the states rally themselves to a united effort for independence?’ and ‘Even if the states get their independence, will they survive?’ As history went on, the states won their independence, and the country survived, despite the doubts of some European countries. The second big set of tests came up in the time when hostilities between the North and the South were to the breaking point, the entire South seceded, and General Lee seemed invincible. The difference between this and other wars was that the Americans fought between each other. The test for the North was: ‘Can the United States stay together?’ and ‘Although divided, can the flag and the country rally enough support to prevent secession?’ The American Civil War threatened the wholeness of the country and the entire continent because of westward expansion. Many countries watched the conflict from the sidelines. They either sided for the Union, or sided for the Confederates. Some even believed that the nations will kill each other and both would cease to exist. As the British Thomas Carlyle once said, ‘Americans are cutting each other’s throats because one half prefers hiring servants for life and the other by the hour.’ He was proven wrong. Although the South was all but destroyed, the secessionist states were readmitted to the Union, as Lincoln once said, ‘…malice towards none, and charity for all…’ Right after the Civil War, the test of whether the North and South would reconcile emerged. Then when the question of civil rights came up, the Flag of the United States replied by giving everyone rights and eliminating segregation, although it took a long time, better late than never, right? In World War 2, Hitler boasted and thought that his young men would outfight the Americans. He was certain that the spoiled sons of democracy were unable to compete against the solid sons of dictatorship. The tests that came to challenge the country and flag were: ‘Can America make a citizen army from scratch?’ ‘Can the army defeat the Wehrmacht?’ ‘Is America able to provide good enough leaders for an eight-million man army?’ Hitler had thought not, and so in the fall of 1945 he is dead because of underestimating the Anglo-Americans and the Russians. Afterwards, America and the USSR emerged from the war as superpowers. Only America came out relatively unscathed. The final big test that came was: ‘Can the Flag and the US step up to the Soviet Juggernaut and stop worldwide communism?’ At the end of the Cold War, America remained strong and the Soviet Union collapsed.
The US Flag became a symbol of freedom, where one’s personal freedoms are guaranteed and guarded by the military. The American Freedom of Information Act barely allows the government to keep secrets from the people. The sight of the flag gave people hope and symbolized freedom from war and oppression where the POWs and refugees are taken care of. It also showed the US’s efforts to maintain peace. The flag symbolized freedom of religion and politics, freedom to bear arms, freedom from forced quartering of troops, freedom from unreasonable searches, the freedom to have a life, the freedom to have liberty, the freedom to own property, the freedom to have protection in criminal trials, freedom from being enslaved, and the freedom from excessive bails and unusual punishments. An anonymous GI once said: ‘Imagine this. In the spring of 1945, around the world, the sight of a twelve-man squad of teenage boys, armed and in uniform, brought terror to people’s hearts. Whether it be the Red Army squad in Berlin, Leipzig, or Warsaw, or a German squad in Holland, or a Japanese squad in Manila, Seoul, or Beijing, that squad meant rape, pillage, looting, wanton destruction, senseless killing. But there was an exception: a squad of GIs, a sight that brought the biggest smiles you ever saw to the people’s lips, and joy to their hearts.’ This was true, because in Post-War Europe, a GI meant candy, cigarettes, C-rations, and freedom. The GIs were there to liberate, not conquer, help, and not terrorize. Everywhere the US Flag went, it brought happiness, and in most cases, freedom.
Finally, the flag represented a land of opportunity, where venture capitalism was a noble and daring art, so that anyone with a reasonable invention in their garage could find capital to back it. The land represented has bankruptcy laws that encourage people who fail in financial matters to try again. In Silicon Valley, bankruptcy is viewed as inevitable and necessary to innovation and experience. This attitude makes people take chances, and if they do get bankrupt, they can always go to Palo Alto and be welcomed with open arms. The land also provides education for all and scholarships so if anyone is smart enough, they can go to virtually any college and university. Obtaining citizenships for this country is also rather simple and there is always a chance that one could get fabulously rich. In that represented land, everyone is viewed as equal, so a recently arrived immigrant can go to the top businesses, hospitals, and universities. Grustav Spreckels recalled a guard telling him, ‘throw everything away. America is rich and you will get everything new.’
Through history, the American Flag represented freedom and opportunity. Also through history, the same flag encountered tests in freedom, rights, solidarity, etc. It will remain so for the rest of the world and to the people of the world.