Mike Zielinski

Mike Zielinski

Patriotic kudos to Keystone Villa at Douglassville for scheduling a Flag Day ceremony on June 14 at 9 a.m.

I’m somewhat partial to Flag Day because it’s my birthday. I guess that makes me a real Yankee Doodle Dandy, with apologies to Jimmy Cagney.

Donald Trump and Boy George also were born on June 14. Two of the three of us always are busting britches for attention. I will leave it you to figure out who’s the odd man out.

One of my earliest memories as a toddler is standing on our front steps and asking my mother where my birthday presents were. I assumed it was June 14 because our neighbors were flying Old Glory and I thought it was Flag Day.

Alas, it was only Memorial Day and my gifts would not be presented that day. That morning fits into the recesses of my memory like a key in the tumblers of a lock.

Flag Day is observed nationwide, but Pennsylvania is the only state that recognizes it as a legal holiday. Which is why I still live in Pennsylvania, forsaking the warmer climes of Hawaii or the Carolinas.

Yep, the flag is important to me. As it should be to all Americans.

Flag Day, for those of you who cut American history class in high school, commemorates the adopting of the American flag by the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14 to be Flag Day in 1916 and National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress in 1949. I guess Congress actually got things done back then.

Apparently fake news plagued George Washington. First, it’s a myth that he chopped down his father’s cherry tree. Second, it’s a myth that he told Betsy Ross to design the first American flag. That being said, Ross was a seamstress and probably did sew American flags. She just didn’t create the first one.

Oh, well. Better late than never.

Whoever did design the first flag chose red for valor and bravery; white for purity and innocence; and blue for vigilance, perseverance and justice. The stars are considered a symbol of the heavens and the stripes are symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun.

Granted, if the flag had been designed today it likely would include the Nike swoosh and the Geico gecko because corporate sponsorships are a way of life in contemporary America.

Our flag got its Old Glory nickname from William Driver, who hid his homemade flag from Confederate troops, unfurling it again when the city came under the control of federal troops. You’ll have to go on Ancestry.com to find out if William Driver is an ancestor of actress Minnie Driver, who is British.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written not for Flag Day, but for Columbus Day. Imagine that. First of all, Columbus discovered the Bahamas, not America. Some historians believe the Norsemen discovered America years before Columbus’ voyage but apparently didn’t brag about their achievement on social media.

I hope all of you will take a moment on June 14 to salute our flag — and wish me Happy Birthday.

Mike Zielinski, a resident of Berks County, is a columnist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter.

comments powered by Disqus