The Flag of the United States of America is a symbol of our nation and our freedom. We revere and respect our flag each June 14, Flag Day. This date is a tribute to the date our flag was adopted June 14, 1777.

We remember the stories of Betsy Ross stitching our flag, but history indicates that she also had a hand in the layout of that flag. The first flag was red, white and blue, as it is today, with 13 stars for the original 13 colonies, as well as 13 stripes.

Our current flag has 50 stars for the 50 states in the Union and 13 stripes for the original colonies. The stars were put in a circle on the first flag so that no one state was shown preference.

As more states were added to the union, obviously the flag would have become cumbersome if stripes kept being added, so in 1818, Congress changed the flag to keep the original 13 stripes and add stars to represent the new states.

In 1782 when the Seal of the United States was adopted, Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, stated the following: "The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice." (http://usflag.org/colors.html)

I remember learning flag etiquette from my parents and grandparents. We were taught to stand when the fag was presented, face toward it, put our hand over our heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, and to sing the National Anthem.

We were told that we stand in honor of the men and women who fought for our country and can no longer stand. My brothers were instructed to take off any hats they might be wearing as a sign of respect.

We respect our flag when we honor the men and women who fought and died defending our country.

Our flag should never to touch the ground nor be carried flat. It is to be carried on a pole and should be carried higher than any other flags in a procession.

Also, the flag should not be flown at night, unless it is lighted. Tattered flags should be retired respectfully.

Most Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion groups will accept old flags and retire them.

Let's fly our flags with pride on Flag Day here in Crestview.

Happy Father's Day to all fathers; we love and appreciate you!

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.