What does your country's flag symbolize to you? The American flag often is viewed as a symbol of freedom, national pride, the birth of a great nation, and so much more. On special holidays like Memorial Day (the last Monday in May), Flag Day (June 14), and Independence Day (July 4), Americans proudly wave the stars and stripes as a sign of patriotism to honor their country.
What meaning do you attach to your country's flag?
On what occasions do you display your country's flag?
Why should students be taught the significance of a country's flag?
Good questions, Lynne. Although the flag may mean less to citizens right now, our flag seems to take on a lot more meaning for those who have been to other countries, particularly to those in the military who have experienced the contrast in limited freedoms and constant fear. It seems to symbolize a great deal of citizen pride and hopefully appreciation within our own nation, but seems to be a target for envy and hatred in others. Especially in a war-torn nation, a flag declares beliefs and provides strength for many.
Visiting the Smithsonian Museum of American History and seeing the original flag that waved over Ft. McHenry drives home some of that treasured symbolism. For anyone interested in helping children learn more about our flag, there is a fun and informative flag interactive at www.famlit.org/activities as well as an activity book that can be downloaded.
You certainly have shared some valuable insights about our flag and those of other countries. I travel abroad most years and have observed citizens showing their pride and patriotism by honoring and displaying their country's flag. Watching the Olympics on television also shows the significance of a country's flag as it is raised to honor the winning athletes in each event.
I appreciate the link to the interactive flag activity. That is one resource we are featuring in our June document for Flag Day. I enjoyed finding all the flags and sharing that activity with my students.
I hope others will join in our discussion and share their thoughts and resources.
Verizon Thinkfinity Community Host
Thank you for mentioning a visit to the National Museum of American History. We've seen first hand the powerful responses of visitors to seeing the original Star-Spangled Banner. Others might enjoy this letter from a father describing his young son's love of the Star-Spangled Banner and his experience visiting the Museum.
Our online visitors have also shared their stories of what the flag means to them in our online exhibition--and we're still collecting stories!
National Museum of American History
Re: What is the value of teaching students about the American flag and flags from other countries?
Hi Lynne Hoffman,
I have always viewed the American flag as both a symbol of freedom and national pride. Students should be taught the significance of our flag.
When I was student teaching for a 4th Grade Inclusion class we read the story Benny's Flag and then had the class create their own flags.