Parade of Nations

Every four years since 1896, the Summer Olympics are held in a pre-selected host city for several weeks. This year (2016) the Olympics are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These games will be the first to be held in South America and the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere in recent years since the Sydney games in 2000.

flgtbnr1000029438_-00_team-usa-premium-felt-banner-flagEvery Olympic games holds an Opening Ceremony, featuring spectacular performances, music, culture, and more. In the midst of the Opening Ceremony is the Parade of Nations, which usually take place in a stadium, arena, or another type of venue in the host nation. The Parade of Nations is where the participating countries parade into the venue, carrying their flag, along with their national team. The teams usually range from one person to several hundred. Each team has a flagbearer, and the flagbearer is picked due to various reasons. Sometimes the flagbearer may be the sole team brazil-superknitmember, a medal hopeful, a medal winner from the previous games, or an official from the nation’s team. Larger nations like the United States elect their flagbearer

The Parade of Nations is led by Greece and ends with the host nation, which in this year’s case is Brazil. The parade will proceed according to the host nation’s alphabet. The names of the countries are written in the host nation’s language, so it will be listed in a different order. The reason Greece goes first in the parade is because they are the country who originally started the Olympics, so they always go first (with the exception of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, when they went last as they were the host).

It is tradition for the flagbearers to dip (or lower) their country’s flag as a sign of respect, except for the case of the United States. When the US marches in the Parade of Nations, it is tradition for the flagbearer not to dip the flag to the leader of the host nation. This was apparently have been the case since the 1908 Olympics when the flagbearer, Ralph Rose, who was an Irish-American, said “The flag dips to no earthly king”. It is unknown particularly WHY it was done but it was made permanent after the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

Fast Fact: There is also a Parade of Nations for the Winter Olympics, as well!

-CD

Armed Forces Day

Armed ForcesSaturday, May 16, 2015 is Armed Forces Day. According to the Department of Defense website, Harry Truman established this as a national holiday, to thank our military for their service to this great country. Instead of individual Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps holidays, President Truman promoted the unity of our armed forces under the Department of Defense.

According to the DoD website, on Feb 27, 1950, President Truman stated, “Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America’s defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense.”

One of the main purposes for setting aside one day for all branches was to educate the public and promote patriotism. Parades, air shows and parties marked this first holiday, with over 40,000 US Troops marching worldwide, and tens of thousands of citizens participating in parades.

In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world.”

JointcolorsOur Servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace – many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families. They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve. They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth – that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice.”

On that day in history, many other notable events occurred: The Red Cross celebrated 69 years, Britain stopped most of its rationing, and the Soviets returned 23 East German industrial plants to East German authorities.

What will you do this year to honor our military?

United States Flag Store Supports Community Clothes Closet

Jenny R. in Wisconsin included one of ourIMG_1403 flags in a raffled basket for her cause, Community Clothes Closet. United States Flag Store’s garden flag and holder were tucked in an adorable garden basket to be auctioned off at the fashion show on May 17th in Appleton Wisconsin. The Fox Cities Fashion Show is a community-wide event where volunteers model vintage clothing for a fun-filled afternoon. The Community Clothes Closet will use the proceeds from this fundraiser to keep its doors open to those in need. Jenny says, “Thank you for helping us continue our mission of providing free clothing to people in need while maintaining their dignity and offering opportunities to improve their lives.”

If you would like more information about the Community Clothes Closet or our fashion show please visit them here.

State Flags – New Jersey

newjersey-printed-poly_1New Jersey places third into the union and as one of the original thirteen colonies. New Jersey is dubbed “The Garden State” and officially became a state on December 18, 1787.

The flag of New Jersey has a light yellow-brown background with part of the state seal in the center. The state seal features three plows inside a blue shield in between two women. The woman on the left is the Goddess of Liberty, who is holding a staff and the cap of freedom; on the opposite side is the Goddess of Agriculture, who holds the cornucopia full of food. Above the shield and the two woman is the head armor of a knight, a horse’s head, and blue filigrees. On the bottom is a ribbon which bears “”LIBERTY AND PROSPERITY” and “1776” (Random Fact: This state flag was adopted on March 26, 1896, a little less than 109 years after admission into the union).

New Jersey was given to James the Duke of York from his the brother, King Charles II of England. James later gave it to Sir George Carteret and Lord John Berkeley. James named New Jersey in honor of Carteret who was born in and was the former governor of Jersey, which is a British island in the English Channel.

trenton_battle_banner_06bThe Battle of Trenton was a small but important battle in the American Revolution, taking place in Trenton, NJ. In 1776, the day after Christmas and General George Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware, he led his Continental Army against Hessian soldiers. Very soon all the Hessians were captured with very little damage to our Army. This battle’s significance was its much-needed boost to the Continental Army’s morale. Reenactors come to Trenton each year to relive this victory.

eagle_01Today New Jersey boasts several bald eagle nests with action cams to protect this endangered species. Volunteers observe and collect helpful data, clocking in lots of hours noting courtship, mating, feeding, and other rituals.

Another fact: New Jersey is the 47th largest state in the United States with only 8,722 square miles.

Want more fun facts about New Jersey? Check out this website.

Spirit of America

Heroes!? Are they real outside the comics? Absolutely! In our frenzied world we are growing a whole generation and more who have a very minimal understanding of who a real hero is. More and more as the Greatest Generation fades away there is a compelling need to define HERO! Dale Hemphill has done a wonderful job with his Spirit of America flag. He has produced a symbol that defines both hero and gratitude. It intends to plant a picture and vision of who a real hero is on the hearts and minds of the American public and beyond!

A US Navy veteran himself, Dale Hemphill designed Spirit of America as the emblem for his Spirit of America Foundation/Forgotten Heroes USA. The Spirit of America Flag is the only flag of its kind. It honors the veterans and heroes of wars past and our current soldiers who are fighting for our freedom. This flag also pays tribute to the many heroes and civilians who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001. Made in the U.S.A. Made out of nylon known for its weather resistance. Measures: 3′ x 5′.

According to Mr. Hemphill, “the nice thing about this flag is that it covers everything – 911, men and women, the cold war, you name it.” It has a rich history itself. “20141106_111017I started designing this in 1979 with the hostages in Iraq situation, when they were in captivity for 444 days. I’ve had my design stolen and even had the copyright cut out of the flag.”

The “Spirit of America” insignia was designed to recognize our men and women of the military forces and the battles they fought. “I recently updated it to include the eagles,” Dale told us. The insignia is graphic and intentional to remind us of many events and qualities of the Spirit of America:

  • Spirit of America – Uniting Together
  • Eagle – Freedom
  • Red – Bloodshed
  • Blue – Valor and Bravery
  • 50 Stars – 50 States
  • POW/MIA – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • 8 Stars – 8 Men who died in Iran rescue attempt
  • Beirut – 241 American troops who lost their lives in barracks explosion
  • Red/White/Blue ribbon between flag staffs – Firefighters, Policemen, Port Authority, Paramedics and EMT’s who died
  • Yellow Ribbon – All the Heroes and civilians who gave or lost their lives on 9/11
  • 2 red/white/blue stars bordering the insignia – represents the Twin Towers
  • Wars – Revolutionary War, War of 1812, U.S. Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Unfortunately after the parades are over and the flags cased, the gratitude we owe our veteran heroes – of whatever war or incident of national consequence like the brave men, women, and first responders of 9/11 – is often tucked away for another day as well. We must not, we cannot forget!  These heroes are the bedrock of American patriotism and exceptionalism! They are the Spirit of America!

Due to his passion that we not forget, Dale Hemphill has founded the Spirit of America USA Foundation. The Spirit of America Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by a naval veteran realizing the need for historical recognition of American’s heroes and the sacrifices they made for our country. Its stated mission:

  • To identify and prioritize veteran’s health issues; to coordinate a unified agenda, strategies, and action for effective legislative public health policies for homeless veterans and their families, and educational campaigns.
  • To provide information on educational resources, research, and timely legislative activities; to develop educational and outreach program training materials for the homeless and destitute.
  • To encourage the establishments of support groups and self-reliant employment, promote self-respect and dignity.
  • To improve communications among local, regional, national, and international support advocacy organizations and individuals by providing expertise, assistance, and networking information; to establish a network linking support groups or veterans organizations by fax or computer.
  • To network with other veterans organizations or individuals with regulatory, legislative, public health, social welfare, and disability organizations; to establish relationships with environmental labor, consumer, minority, children’s advocacy and other veteran’s support groups with common agendas; to insert veteran’s health issues into the mainstream of total health issues; to promote veteran’s justice.
  • To promote health issue research; to promote fund raising events for funding of health issue research.
  • To coordinate a research data base project in conjunction with established support and advocacy organizations to access the prevalence of service-connected disabilities; to provide data for lobbyist and researchers.
  • To establish both standing and special committees to focus on veteran’s health issues and veteran’s issues in general that coordinates national campaigns for veterans and their families.
  • To coordinate fund raising, donor development, grant writing, and customer active programs which will accomplish coalition goals and ensure financial stability and growth; to hire staff members to ensure schooling for the less privileged children of veterans; to provide shelter for the homeless and their families; to provide proper health care for the uninsured; to promote self-employment which establishes self-respect, dignity, and income to those less fortunate.

As the Spirit of America Foundation continues its mission to promote patriotism and the appreciation of our veterans, it has expanded its reach to help veterans in need in today’s tough economy.  FORGOTTEN HEROES USA, LTD, supports the mission of the Spirit of America Foundation by offering patriotic products honoring America’s hardships in history dating back to the Revolutionary War to present day Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. A percentage of each purchase is donated to the Spirit of America Foundation.

Forgotten Heroes

As we refresh our memories
Of all the wars gone by
Let each of us be grateful
For our “Heroes” you and I
They gave their all that we may live
In a country good and free,
“Lest We Forget” They did it all
For the likes of you and me.
Remember the “Heroes”
Who fought our wars
And kept “Old Glory” flying
Those who gave their utmost
And saved us all from dying.

Richard Hemphill – WWII

To all our veterans and heroes – the true Spirit of America – THANK YOU!

~AH

Vote 2014

vote repWhen I was growing up we had Civics Class. Civics taught you what it meant to be American, in a country where you had the right and honor to be apart of the what is bigger than just you but the community in which you live. Civics: the study or science of the privileges and obligations of citizens. Webster Dictionary. Being a good citizen is voting.

vote demo 1The timeline of our country’s voting has not always been to encompass all. The beginning brought only white and landowners in 1790. In 1870, the 15 Amendment was passed to include former slaves and all men of any race. In 1920, suffrage movement guaranteed women the right to vote. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed to protect the rights of minorities and eliminates any poll tax. Finally in 1970, the age requirement was lowered to 18 years old.

I have always felt it a privilege and an obligation to vote. I do so with pride and honor. I do not vote a straight ticket. I research each fellow citizen. I also read up on laws to be voted on and try to make an informed decision.

vote paceTomorrow, I go back to where I voted for the first time when I turned 18. I remember being so excited. My mom took me and as we stood in line, I was so new and naïve. Knowing that by voting, I will put my mark on history to bring about change.

GO VOTE!

**Jacquie

United States Air Force

milaf23n_-00_air-force-flag-2x3ft-nylonToday the United States Air Force turns 67 years old. Under the National Security Act of 1947 signed on September 18 aboard President Harry S. Truman’s VC-54C presidential transport (the forerunner to the Air Force One), this Act re-structured the military’s agencies after WWII, creating the Department of the Air Force. This is the most recent, largest, most technologically advanced Air Force in the world. In 1907, the War Department the first preceding Air Force. In WWII almost 68,000 US Airmen died helping win the war. Before 1947 Air Defense was shared between the Department of Army for land based operations, The Navy for sea-based operations from aircraft carriers and amphibious air craft and The Marine Corps for close air support for infantry operations.

In general the United States Air Force shall include aviation forces both combat and service not otherwise assigned. It shall be organized, trained, and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained offensive and defensive air operations. The Air Force shall be responsible for the preparation of the air forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war except as otherwise assigned and, in accordance with integrated joint mobilization plans, for the expansion of the peacetime components of the Air Force to meet the needs of war. National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 502)

FLGIMGS1000000428_-00_Lackland-Air-Force-Base-Image-Downloadable-Image_3The USAF core functions today are Nuclear Deference Operations, Special Operations, Air Superiority, Global Integrated ISR, Space Superiority, Command & Control, Cyberspace Superiority, Personal Recovery, Global Precision Attack, Building Partnerships, Rapid Global Mobility and Agile Combat Support. A very long list I had no idea the Air Force did to maintain our National defense until researching their Birthday.

67 years does not seem to be a long time, considering we have only been using air craft to support ground troops since The Korean War. My daddy was in the Air Force during the late 50’s- early 60’s. Daddy was a diesel mechanic and worked on planes. He was stationed mainly in the Azores and then at Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan where he met and married my momma. My daddy passed away in 2010 and there is not a day that passes that I do not miss him. He was a GREAT story teller. So to all of our Airmen, past, present and future:

Off we go into the wild blue yonder, Climbing high into the sun

**Jacquie

(The Airforce Song Words and Music by Captain Robert Crawford, ©1939)

September 11, 2001

10626484_850706334940249_8767846593082196162_nI try to write a factual history when I blog. Today I cannot give you statistics and facts. Because today is about what you feel as an AMERICAN. It is what you feel to live in the United States. It is about thankfulness for being born in the greatest country in this world. This day is for REMEMBRANCE for the simple people that became HEROES 13 years ago – 13 years that we have been remembering, honoring and continue to fight for our great Nation.

I remember every moment of the day of the attacks. I was at work and my girls were in school, 30 miles away. Can you tell me your reaction, thoughts and feelings? I bet you can remember every little thing you felt. How scared you were. How you just wanted to be with your family in that moment of crisis. As the day wore on and news came over the radio and television we saw our First Responders, our Firefighters, EMT’s and Police Departments do what they do best: come to the aid of those in need.

I am reiterating this oath so you may read what our forefathers gave us in the 1860‘s: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God. (www.senate.gov)

Take some time, whether it be a time of silence, prayer, thanking someone that goes out in a uniform everyday or flying your flag. Honor Old Glory today! God Bless America. Noble eagle. Enduring freedom. Remember September 11, 2001.

Proud American,

Jacquie

New Unofficial 51-Star American Flag Now Available from Online Stores, Inc.

FLGUN351000032341-_-00_51-Star-American-Flag-3ftX5ft-Sewn-NylonNew Stanton, PA – 22 August 2014 – At the request of customers from Puerto Rico, Online Stores has produced the first commercially available 51-star American flag, symbolizing the possible conversion of Puerto Rico from a US Territory into US state. Social media followers of the US Flag Store, the flag division of Online Stores, offered their thanks and support when the flag was announced. American made of weather-resistant nylon in the popular 3’x5’ size, the flag retails for $23.95 and is available for purchase online at the OnlineStores.com using this direct linkhttp://www.onlinestores.com/51-star-american-flag-3ftx5ft-sewn-nylon.html. The flag is of course not an official US flag yet as it has not been adopted by Congress.

Jorge, a customer of Online Stores, Inc. said, “As a proud American citizen and a native of Puerto Rico, I would like to see my island as the 51st State of the Union. After 519 years first as a US colony and then as a US territory, the people of Puerto Rico demand equality so we can enjoy the full rights, obligations, and responsibility of the continental US. I will be flying your 51-star flag.” Says Cheo, “I currently live in Texas. This flag will be the symbol for the more than 3 million supporters for PR statehood. I will personally fly and display this flag at home as well as pro-statehood meetings.”

Earlier this year, Puerto Rico took a step towards being the 51st state with the introduction of the Puerto Rico Status Resolution Act into the Senate. This bill requires a binding referendum to be held in Puerto Rico asking whether the territory wants to be admitted as a state. The majority have already voted to become a state. (huffingtonpost.com)

Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States, that recognizes the United States President as authority. The US controls their currency, military, law, postal system, and Social Security. (welcome.topuertorico.org).

Online Stores, Inc. is a privately held American e-commerce business and a top 500 retailer, based in New Stanton, PA. The company operates several web sites including Onlinestores.com, EnglishTeaStore.com, ConstructionGear.com, Toysplash.com, United-States-Flag.com and DiscountsafetyGear.com. Online Stores serves over 500,000 customers every year.

 

You Are Not Alone

June is PTSD Awareness Month.

My Disclaimer

I have noticed that a large portion of our US Flag Store community “likes” the posts on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I wanted to dig a little deeper. It’s a sensitive, serious subject, and please correct me gently if I step on any toes. PTSD is a broad term used to describe any disorder triggered by severe trauma. While we use it on our website to refer to military personnel and vets who suffer because of it, it is a very real condition for many who have never been in battle. I cannot imagine the trauma suffered by those who have.

I started by going to the militarymentalhealth.org website and taking their quiz on PTSD. After filling out some basic information I was directed to four questions signifying the criteria for diagnosis:

  1. Did you have nightmares about the event, or thought about it when you did not want to OR
  2. Went out of your way to avoid situations and places that reminded you of the event OR
  3. Were constantly on guard and easily startled OR
  4. Felt detached from others and your surroundings

My first husband committed suicide. I have been abused, among other things I’d care not to share online. Additionally, in the last 8 months I have gone through a divorce (second husband), terminal cancer diagnosis for/subsequent care of/death of a parent, job change, city relocation, home purchase; I figured if any civilian was borderline suffering from something traumatic, it would be me. Not. I passed with flying colors. However, I immediately answered “yes” to all four questions answering for my boyfriend, whose teenage son was killed in an auto accident.

I already knew I can’t possibly fathom what he lives with, day in and day out. So here is the tender part: I am writing about something whose depths I do not understand. If you are reading this, please don’t misunderstand that I think I know what you are going through, that I could offer platitudes or begin to understand what you have seen and felt. You deserve more than that. I read over this article after it is finished and my words seem so trite. It was an exercise in educating myself. Please take my findings as simply that: a collection of resources that I found online, that may direct you to help if you or someone you love needs it.

You Are Not Alone!

Important thing to remember: You are not alone. This can’t be said enough. 7.7 million Americans aged 18 and over suffer from PTSD, also known as shell shock or combat stress. It can be brought on by a variety of events, regardless whether you were physically harmed or not. Common symptoms include nightmares, sleeplessness, depression, numbness, anger, irritability, inability to focus, and myriad other things that reduce your quality of life. Symptoms often do not manifest immediately, and may not be constant.

Factors that can contribute to an event leading to PTSD include intensity, physical pain, loss of loved one, proximity, lack of control, and lack of support after the event. That last one screams that it is imperative to get support as soon as possible, even if you feel fine at the time.

Many sufferers report handing the condition with drinking, suicidal thoughts, workaholism, and isolation.  These things actually eventually exacerbate the issues.

Is there help?

There is. PTSD has been recognized as a viable condition and researchers from around the world have increased our understanding of it and how to treat it. Medication and counseling are the two most effective methods of treatment. Counseling can help you understand and cope with what you are feeling while medications can block feelings of excessive despair. You can make lifestyle changes to help you on the path to recovery also – communicating with loved ones about what places or situations make you uncomfortable; volunteering in your local community can offer you the support you need. Start by talking to someone if you notice you are having a tough time: your spouse, best friend, doctor, or religious advisor. Connect with others who have been there, who can help  you know what to expect and what things worked for them, and who will offer to be there for you if you feel you have nowhere else to go. That is one place I know we all have been!

Explore some of these resources, many of them free – they are my resources for this writing:

Military Pathways

Vet Centers

Understanding PTSD Booklet 

Understanding PTSD Treatment

PTSD Program Locator 

And once again, whether you are Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines, we here at US Flag Store genuinely thank you for your service!