The French FlagUnder the ancient régime, France had a great number of flags, and many of its military and naval flags were elaborate and subject to artistic variations. The royal coat of arms, a blue shield with three golden fleurs-de-lis, was the basis for the state flag. After the Bourbons came to power, this shield was generally displayed against a background of the Bourbon dynastic colour, white.
The French Revolution of 1789 led to an emphasis on simple flag designs that expressed the radical changes being introduced into social, political, and economic life. Blue and red, the traditional colors of Paris, were popular among revolutionaries in that city, and the Bourbon royal white was often added. In 1790 three equal vertical stripes, arranged red-white-blue within a frame of the same colors, were added to the white flag of the navy. Four years later the Tricolor, with stripes now ordered blue-white-red, was made the official national flag for use by the common people, the army, and the navy. This flag was seen to embody all the principles of the revolution—liberty, equality, fraternity, democracy, secularism, and modernization. Many other nations, especially in Europe, adopted tricolors flags in imitation of the French, replacing its colors with their own. In this way the French Tricolor has become one of the most influential national flags in history, standing in symbolic opposition to the autocratic and clericalist royal standards of the past as well as to the totalitarian banners of modern communism and fascism.
After the military victories of Napoleon I under the Tricolor, the Bourbon Restoration in 1814/15 led to the replacement of all symbols. The white flag was again supreme, but the revolution of 1830, which put Louis-Philippe on the throne, restored the Tricolor. In 1848 many sought to impose a communist red banner on France, and for two weeks the Tricolor itself was altered, its stripes reordered to blue-red-white. Since March 5, 1848, however, the Tricolor has been the sole national flag of France and of all territories under its control. Like many early national flags, the Tricolor has no specific symbolism attached to the individual colors and shapes in its design.
Bastille Day, in France and its overseas départements and territories, holiday marking the anniversary of the fall on July 14, 1789, of the Bastille in Paris. Originally built as a medieval fortress, the Bastille eventually came to be used as a state prison. Political prisoners were often held there, as were citizens detained by the authorities for trial. Some prisoners were held on the direct order of the king, from which there was no appeal. Although by the late 18th century it was little used and was scheduled to be demolished, the Bastille had come to be associated in the minds of the people with the harsh rule of the Bourbon monarchy. During the unrest of 1789, on July 14 a mob approached the Bastille to demand the arms and ammunition stored there, and, when the force guarding the structure resisted, the attackers captured the prison, releasing the seven prisoners held there. The taking of the Bastille signaled the beginning of the French Revolution, and it thus became a symbol of the end of the ancien régime.
July 14, often called la fête nationale in France, became an official holiday in 1880. From the beginning, speeches, parades, and fireworks, along with public revelry, were part of the celebration. The slogan “Vive le 14 juillet!” (“Long live the 14th of July!”) has continued to be associated with the day. The holiday came to be celebrated in the former French colonies and is observed in those places maintaining links to France. French Polynesia especially came to be known for its adaptation of the holiday to its own culture. In addition, Francophiles worldwide have taken up the observance of Bastille Day, celebrating with dinners of French cuisine, for example, or with concerts of French music.
Flag DayThe Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.
On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.
Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day', and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.
Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.
In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.
Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."
Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
American FlagThe United States Flag is the third oldest of the National Standards of the world; older than the Union Jack of Britain or the Tricolor of France.
The flag was first authorized by Congress June 14, 1777. This date is now observed as Flag Day throughout America.
The flag was first flown from Fort Stanwix, on the site of the present city of Rome, New York, on August 3, 1777. It was first under fire for three days later in the Battle of Oriskany, August 6, 1777.
It was first decreed that there should be a star and a stripe for each state, making thirteen of both; for the states at the time had just been erected from the original thirteen colonies
The colors of the Flag may be thus explained: The red is for valor, zeal and fervency; the white for hope purity, cleanliness of life, and rectitude of conduct; the blue, the color of heaven, for reverence to God, loyalty, sincerity, justice and truth.
The star (an ancient symbol of India, Persia and Egypt) symbolized dominion and sovereignty, as well as lofty aspirations. The constellation of the stars within the union, one star for each state, is emblematic of our Federal Constitution, which reserves to the States their individual sovereignty except as to rights delegated by them to the Federal Government.
The symbolism of the Flag was thus interpreted by Washington: “We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty.”
In 1791, Vermont, and in 1792, Kentucky were admitted to the Union and the number of stars and stripes was raised to fifteen in correspondence. As other states came into the Union it became evident there would be too many stripes. So in 1818 Congress enacted that the number of stripes be reduced and restricted henceforth to thirteen representing the thirteen original states; while a star should be added for each succeeding state. That law is the law of today.
The name “Old Glory” was given to our National Flag August 10, 1831, by Captain William Driver of the brig Charles Doggett.
The Flag was first carried in battle at the Brandywine, September 11, 1777. It first flew over foreign territory January 28, 1778, at Nassau, Bahama Islands; Fort Nassau having been captured by the American in the course of the war for independence. The first foreign salute to the flag was rendered by the french admiral LaMotte Piquet, off Quiberon Bay, February 13, 1778.
The United States Flag is unique in the deep and noble significance of its message to the entire world, a message of national independence, of individual liberty, of idealism, of patriotism.
It symbolizes national independence and popular sovereignty. It is not the Flag of a reigning family or royal house, but of 205 million free people welded into a Nation, one and inseparable, united not only by community of interest, but by vital unity of sentiment and purpose; a Nation distinguished for the clear individual conception of its citizens alike of their duties and their privileges, their obligations and their rights.
It incarnates for all mankind the spirit of Liberty and the glorious ideal of human Freedom; not the freedom of unrestraint or the liberty of license, but an unique ideal of equal opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, safeguarded by the stern and lofty principles of duty, of righteousness and of justice, and attainable by obedience to self-imposed laws.
Floating from lofty pinnacle of American Idealism, it is a beacon of enduring hope, like the famous Bartholdi Statue of Liberty enlightening the World to the oppressed of all lands. It floats over a wondrous assemblage of people from every racial stock of the earth whose united hearts constitute an indivisible and invincible force for the defense and succor of the downtrodden.
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. Twice told tales of National honor and glory cluster thickly about it. Ever victorious, it has emerged triumphant from eight great National conflicts. It flew at Saratog, at Yorktown, at Palo Alto, at Gettysburg, at Minala bay, at Chateau-Thierry, at Iwo Jima. It bears witness to the immense expansion of our national boundaries, the development of our natural resources, and the splendid structure of our civilization. It prophesies the triumph of popular government, of civic and religious liberty and of national righteousness throughout the world.
The flag first rose over thirteen states along the Atlantic seaboard, with a population of some three million people. Today it flies over fifty states, extending across the continent, and over great islands of the two oceans; and two hundred and five million owe it allegiance. It has been brought to this proud position by love and sacrifice. Citizens have advanced it and heroes have died for it. It is the sign made visible of the strong spirit that has brought liberty and prosperity to the people of America. It is the flag of all us alike. Let us accord it honor and loyalty.
RED, WHITE, and BLUEA Few Fun Color Facts About Red, White, and Blue
In light of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I thought it would be fun to share some quick, fun facts about the colors Red, White, and Blue.
Red: is the color with the longest wave length and is always the highest arc of the rainbow.
*RED increases respiration rate, raises blood pressure and stimulates us to take immediate action.
*RED is reportedly the very first color a newborn can see.
*Early RED dyes were made by crushing the dried bodies of the Cochineal insect. Seventy thousand insects had to be harvested, dried and crushed just to produce one pound of red dye.
*Indians of the Amazon colored their lips with RED hot chili peppers for a little added sex appeal.
*If RED is your favorite color you are extroverted, exciting, energetic and a natural born leader. You bring excitement to the world. On the flip side, Red lovers can also be moody, bossy, restless and opinionated.
*The ancient Greeks started the tradition of wearing white wedding dresses but it did not become popular in the US until the 1800′s. Before that brides wore pastel colors.
*Medical professionals started wearing white in the early 1900′s so dirt and grime, which was feared to cause infection, would show better.
*In our culture, white means purity but in many African cultures, white symbolizes death.
*In China, white is the color of mourning and therefore worn to funerals.
*If white is your favorite color you like cleanliness and order. Your home and clothes are immaculate. You tend to be a cautious buyer and a shrewd trader. The negative is that you can be critical and fussy.
*Blue has a calming effect on our bodies and has been shown to slow down our metabolism and heart rate.
* Native Americans in the South West paint the front doors of their adobe houses bright blue to keep the evil spirits away
*Clairvoyants and Mystics believe that blue light possesses healing qualities.
* Universally, blue is chosen as the favorite color.
*Early use of Blue paint was so highly prized that laws existed as to what artists were allowed to paint blue…Jesus and Mary’s robes were usually the only accepted uses of the precious color.
*Blue paint was so expensive because it was produced by crushing up the jewel Lapis Lazuli which is primarily found deep in the mountains of Afghanistan.
*If Blue is your favorite color you are trustworthy, responsible and sensitive to the needs of others. You are generally conservative and aspire to harmony, serenity and peace in your day to day life. Because Blue lovers have a highly developed sense of responsibility, they can have issues with perfectionism.
Hope this adds a little knowledge to all the Red, White, and Blue you will be seeing over the next few weeks.
If you want to learn more interesting facts about color I highly recommend the book Colors For Your Every Mood by Leatrice Eiseman. All these fun facts came from her book.
I am off to the Country (north country) and wish you all a happy and safe holiday!