Many ways exist to help honor America
With so much drama going on in the country, I began to wonder what I could write that would help honor America. That is when I discovered there was already something established.
36 U.S. Code *112. HONOR AMERICA DAYS
(a) Designation. The 21 days from Flag Day through Independence Day is a period to honor America.
(b) Congressional Declaration. Congress declares that there be public gatherings and activities during that period at which the people of the United States can celebrate and honor their country in an appropriate way.
(Pub. L. 105-225, Aug 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 1257)
Flag Day — June 14th is the perfect day to start the celebration. It is the anniversary of the Flag Act passed by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. “Resolved: That the flag of the United States be made of 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
Independence Day — July 4th. So why end it on this date? For the first 15 or 20 years after the Declaration was written, people didn’t celebrate it much on any date. It was too new and too much else was happening in the young nation. By the 1790s, a time of bitter partisan conflicts, the Declaration had become controversial. One party, the Democratic-Republicans, admired Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration. But the other party, the Federalists, thought the Declaration was too French and too anti-British, which went against their current policies.
By 1817, John Adams complained in a letter that America seemed uninterested in its past. But that would soon change.
After the war of 1812, the Federalist Party began to come apart and the new parties of the 1820s and 1830s all considered themselves inheritors of Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. Printed copies of the Declaration began to circulate again, all with the date July 4, 1776, listed at the top. The deaths of Jefferson and John Adams on July 4, 1826, may even have helped to promote the idea of July 4 as an important date to be celebrated.
Celebrations of the Fourth of July became more common as the years went on, and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941.
We sure have come a long way from “13” to “50” in our constellation. There always have been many challenges facing America, and our Founding Fathers knew this. They came from all types of backgrounds and heritages and knew it was important to come together. It was their wisdom and understanding that enabled America to stand up and win the War of 1812. The country united and was growing.
Since that time, America has faced many challenges. The Civil War; Spanish-American War; WWI; WWII; Korean War; Cold War; Vietnam; Desert Storm; September 11, 2001 (9-11), Enduring Freedom and now COVID-19.
As John Adams worried in 1817, that America seemed uninterested in its past, we need to ensure this does not happen. During the 21 days, we can honor America by standing up and stating we are proud to be an American. We have differences and our Founding Fathers knew that. That is why they wrote the Constitution of the United States:
“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (Preamble to the United States Constitution)
God bless America.
Proud American, CMSgt. J. Lori Stone of Youngstown, is retired from the U.S. Air Force. Recognized as an outstanding veteran, Stone has been inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.