My older sister shared this gorgeous photo with me on Facebook last week:
It comes from a site called Menus 4 Moms, and they really did a nice job. I was inspired to do the same thing with my kids (as were about a hundred other people, judging by the photos on Pinterest).
I sent Joe to the grocery store for bananas, blueberries, and strawberries (my kids' 3 favorite fruits anyway), and I set out to make a pretty American flag.
And then it occurred to me that the kids would not have fun if I told them how they had to put their fruit on their sticks. They didn't want a recipe. They wanted to play.
So I let them play.
- Bananas, cut in thick slices
- Strawberries, hulled and cut in half
- Bamboo skewers
1. Give each kid 3-4 skewers and spread out the bowls between them.
2. Sit back and watch them play.
3. Talk about what the red, white, and blue of the flag means.
The History of the American Flag
According to the book, Our Flag, published by the US House of Representatives in 1989, the colors of the American flag had no special significance when the flag was adopted in 1777.
However, the same colors were used on the Great Seal of America, and they were used for specific meanings. (The Great Seal is fascinating in its own right, but not really part of this conversation.)
- White to show purity and innocence.
- Red to show hardiness and valor.
- Blue to show vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
- Stripes were used to reflect the rays of light emanating from the sun.
- Stars were used as a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which all men aspire.
Prior to the Civil War, the American flag was flown primarily at military sites. It was not used, as today, on homes and other civilian buildings. This changed around the beginning of the Civil War when citizens began to show support of American nationalism and a rejection of the secessionist movement.
The man who designed our current 50-star flag was 17 at the time and designed it for a high school class project. It became the official national flag on July 4, 1960 and remains so today.
The United States Flag Code
The United States Flag Code is a set of rules that tell how the flag should be displayed, handled, and destroyed.
- The flag should never be flown at night unless it is illuminated.
- The flag should never touch the ground.
- When a flag has become so tattered it is no longer usable, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, usually in a flag retiring ceremony. Old flags are burned during these ceremonies.
- The flag is not to be used for advertising purposes.
- The flag is not to be printed on anything disposable, including napkins, handkerchiefs, or boxes.
- The image of the flag may be used in fashion, but neither clothing nor costumes may be made from an American flag.
- If worn on a uniform, the flag must be on the right shoulder with the stripes to the front.