Give a flag to friends and family for holidays
The approach of Christmas and Hanukkah provides an opportunity to give friends and family members a flag, especially if they are now – or once were – in the military. The options are many in a year when three branches of the military are marking a significant anniversary:
The U.S. Marine Corps was formed 240 years ago in 1775, when, according to the USMC website, “the Continental Congress approved the resolution to establish two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore.”
The military arm is forever linked with one of the most iconic flag moments in the nation’s history: the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima during WWII. The event has been captured in a photo, on film, in bronze and even on a postage stamp
The Marines’ own banner displays a globe to represent the reach of the armed force, an anchor to link it to both strength and the seas, and an eagle bearing the words “Semper Fidelis” – “Always Faithful” – the Marine motto.
The Army’s birthday was also in 1775, when the American Revolution broke out. Leading that army was none other than General George Washington, who “considered West Point to be the most important strategic position in America,” according to the U.S. Military Academy, which is now located there.
Visitors to the West Point chapel are often awed by the display of regimental and battle flags that hang above the pews. Notable victories are recalled and significant moments memorialized in those banners.
The Army flag itself “was dedicated and unfurled to the general public” in 1956, according to the Army Information Digest. “The flag is of white silk with a blue embroidered central design of the original War Office seal. ‘United States Army’ is inscribed in white letters on a scarlet scroll, with the year ‘1775’ in blue numerals below.”
The year 1775 also marked the birth of the U.S. Merchant Marines. As defined by its academy, “In time of war or national emergency, the U.S. Merchant Marine becomes vital to national security….Our merchant ships bear the brunt of delivering military troops, supplies and equipment overseas.”
The importance of the military arm was captured in a dramatic World War II movie produced by Warner Bros., “Action in the North Atlantic.” In gratitude, the Merchant Marines presented a Victory Flag to the studio in 1943, the first time such a “war pennant” had been given to the film industry.
As for the Merchant Marines’ own flag, it shows an eagle atop the branch’s crest with the slogan, “In Peace and War,” on top and “1775” on the bottom.
This month is a perfect time to imitate the Merchant Marines, who once gave a flag as a special gift. You can do the same.