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Monday, June 14, 2010

Pledge of Allegiance to Flag ; A Philatelic Overview





14th June every year in the United States of America is observerd nationally as the "Pledge of Allegiance Day" to the US National Flag, nicknamed "Old glory" and "Stars and Stripes". The “Pledge of Allegiance” drew its impetus in 1892 from the “Old Glory”, commencing “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…” (God was inserted during the Eisenhower era). The first “Stars and Stripes” was approved by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. This date is now observed in the US as “Flag Day”.
In this Flag the 13 stars, representing a new constellation, were arranged in a variety of designs. The most popular – the stars in a circle so that no state could claim precedence over another – is known as the Betsy Ross Flag, in honour of the seamstress who is supposed to have sewn the first flag.


Betsy Ross showing the Flag to Gen. George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross ( The 3c. US stamp was issued to commemorate 200 Anniv. of the birth of Betsy Ross on January 2, 1952).


It's not known for certain who designed the first U.S. Flag, but it is likely that the flag was designed by Declaration of Independence signer Francis Hopkinson (inscription on the back of stamp describes the flag). (The stamp was issued on Flag Day featuring the historic flags under the title "Stars and Stripes" sheet-let on June 14, 2000)



Old Glory Self-Adhesive Book-let Stamps issued on April 3, 2003
(Uncle Sam on Bicycle with Liberty Flag 20th Century, 1888 Presidential Campaign Badge, 1893 Silk Bookmark, Modern Hand Fan and Carving of Woman with Flag and Sword-19th Century).

 "Old Glory" was coined by Captain William Driver, of Massachuetts in the year 1831. The story goes as Capt. Driver was leaving on one of his voyages abroad the his brig 'Charles Dagget' when his friends presented him with a new American Flag for his ship. It has been reputed that as the flag opened to the breeze for the first time, Capt. Driver exclaimed "Old Glory". The flag was worn on his most voyages which took him to Tahiti where he found the survivors of the Mutiny on the Bounty. Capt. Driver on his retirement setteled in Nashville in 1837, where he took his flag. When the Civil War broke out, Tennesse seceded from the Union and the rebels were determined to destroy Capt. Driver's flag, but repeated searches yeilded no trace of the flag since the flag was kept hidden by Capt. Driver. When Union forces captured Nashville in 1862 the '24-starred - Old Glory' was brought out from the hidden place and hoisted by Capt. Driver again by replacing the flag hoisted by the Union forces. Now, Capt. Driver's grave at Nashville is one of the very few select places authorised by the act of congress where the US flag is flown 24 hours a day. (Pitcairn Islands issued a colourful miniature sheet of value $5.00, on April 21, 2006 Commemorating "175 years of Old Glory", with an interesting note on the history of the Old Glory)


Maximum Card commemorating 250 years of Naval dockyard, Bombay
The Star-spangled Banner, the National anthem of the USA, was composed on board HMS Minden in 1814 by Francis Scott Key in Baltimore harbour when he was a prisoner of the British on board His Majesty's ship Minden. Naval Dockyard, Bombay (now Mumbai) was established in 1736, the Indian stamp issued to commemorate the 250 years of Naval dockyard (designed by Commde A. K. Dhir, IN (Retd.) depicts Dockyard’s Duncan Drydocks. It is the oldest Dockyard east of Suez which commenced its Ship-building and Repair activities in 1736.
'HMS Minden', an Indian teakwood 'man-of-war' was the first ship to be launched in 1810 from the Duncan Dock, Bombay. This was also the first ship commissioned in the Royal Navy from India. She was named after the German town 'Minden' and the 'Battle of Minden' of 1759, a decisive victory of British and Prussian forces over France in the Seven Years' War.
The U.S. Army commissioned Mary Pickersgill, a professional flagmaker in Baltimore, to make two flags for Fort McHenry, one of which was the flag that Francis Scott Key witnessed flying over the fort during and after the bombardment. The flag is now at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

‘Flag Day’ There are plenty of stamps issued from various countries around the world to commemorate "Flag Day" observed to celebrate‘Adoption of flag’, ‘Anniversary of the Maker of Flag’, and/or ‘Flag events of great National importance’ to re-dedicate allegiance to their respective National Flag. We shall from time to time discuss and bring out country-wise fascinating stories of Flag Day Stamps.

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