What Flag Day should remind us of

In 1885, Wisconsin schoolteacher Bernard J. Cigrand encouraged his students to observe June 14 as a “Flag Birthday” to remember the date in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress introduced the American flag’s first design of stars and stripes.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson established June 14 as the official date for Flag Day.

I therefore suggest and request that throughout the Nation and if possible in every community the 14th day of June be observed as Flag Day with special patriotic exercises, at which means shall be taken to give significant expression to our thoughtful love of America, our comprehension of the great mission of liberty and justice to which we have devoted ourselves as a people, our pride in the history and our enthusiasm for the political program of the Nation, our determination to make it greater and purer with each generation, and our resolution to demonstrate to all the world its vital union in sentiment and purpose…

There have been 27 versions of the flag, but the symbolism behind Old Glory has stayed the same — representing freedom and justice.

As we grapple with how to best restore and reconcile society, pausing to reflect on our flag and what it represents is important. It is not a flag for one group of people, for one identity, but for all Americans. It symbolizes our shared humanity as Americans. And our shared commitment to bringing hope, opportunity, and peace to all humanity.

We can focus on what unites us, celebrate the progress made, and still acknowledge that work remains.

The American flag is a reminder of our journey of progress, and although not perfect, is one filled with freedom, bravery, justice, and perseverance. Here is to ensuring children continue to learn about the significance of the red, white, and blue.