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    The American Flag Wasn’t Always Revered as it is Today. At the Beginning, it Was an Afterthought

    The American Flag Wasn't Always Revered as it is Today. At the Beginning, it Was an Afterthought

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — In the bedroom of the Betsy Ross House, a reconstruction of where the upholsterer worked on her most famous commission, a long flag with a circle of 13 stars hangs over a Chippendale side chair and extends across the floor. Over the weeks in 1776 needed to complete the project, Ross would have likely knelt on the flag, stood on it and treated it more like an everyday banner — not with the kind of reverence we'd expect today.

    “She would not have worried about it touching the floor or violating any codes,” says Lisa Moulder, director of the Ross House. “The flag did not have any kind of special symbolism.”

    Flags proliferate every July 4. But unlike the right to assemble or trial by jury, their role was not prescribed by the founders. They would have been rare during early Independence Day celebrations. Only in the mid-19th century does the U.S. flag become a permanent fixture at the White House, scholars believe; only in the mid-20th century was a federal code established for how it should be handled and displayed; only in the 1960s did Congress pass a law making it illegal to “knowingly” cast “contempt” on the flag.

    The flag's evolution into sacred national symbol, and the ongoing debates around it that inspire so much passion and anger, reflect the current events of a given moment and the country's transformation from a loose confederation of states into a global…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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