Flag Day: Representing courage in any situation

  • Published
  • By Col. Catherine Bard
  • 62nd Medical Squadron commander
Tuesday, June 14th was Flag Day. For many, this day comes and goes without much notice. Most people aren't even aware there is a Flag Day, which got me to thinking. The first thing that popped into my head was Betsy Ross. Even as small children we all learned about Betsy Ross, the lady who designed and sewed the very first American Flag. Historians now argue that tidbit of early Americana lore. Regardless, one can't help but wonder, why do we grant this lady so much reverence in our early history? After all, she was a seamstress who owned and ran an upholstery shop. To her, sewing a flag must have been child's play. Further, she was given the design for the flag by a committee that included George Washington. She apparently only tweaked the design. So what's so special about Betsy Ross, the lady the British referred to as "The Little Rebel?"

American history is replete with stories of ordinary people who do extraordinarily courageous things. Firefighters ran into the collapsing Twin Towers to save people while others were running out. That same day, passengers took back a hijacked flight and prevented terrorists from furthering a goal of death and destruction. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guard, Reserves and Guardsmen every day stand courageously to defend of our way of life. Courage, however, doesn't necessarily require the ultimate sacrifice. A young mother is courageous when she, without complaint, tends to her family day-in and day-out as a single parent, because her spouse is deployed. A teenager is courageous when he says no to drugs even though all of his friends are doing it. A young Airman was incredibly courageous, when during a Change of Command ceremony, the computer failed to supply the Star Spangled Banner, but despite her fear of crowds, she led the room in singing the very best rendition of our National Anthem I have ever heard.

As a young woman, Betsy Ross' courageous support of the Colonial rebels despite potential British retribution, helped shape our first flag and our early nation. It is this same type of courage displayed by an entire nation of ordinary people despite fear, despite limitations, despite challenges that is so very special. Our flag embodies that courage. Thank you Ms. Ross. Well done, Little Rebel.