Memorial Day Special – The Glory of Old Glory

By Dorrene Jeske
City Council-member
Ogden City

In the history of our flag, there have been many moments of glory. Naturally the colonists used at first the flags of their home-land. The first flag to have any resemblance to the present stars and stripes was the Grand Union Flag. It consisted of thirteen red and white stripes, representing the thirteen colonies, with a blue field in the upper left-hand corner bearing the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew, signifying union with the mother country.

Conflicts were inevitable with Great Britain under the heavy hand of the British Parliament, and finally the thirteen colonies declared their independence from the mother country July 4th, 1776.

On June 14th, 1777, the following resolution was presented to the second Continental Congress and passed: “The flag of the United States be 13 stripes alternate red and white, and the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellations.”

This was a memorable day in the history of America! Into being emerged a genuinely American flag, destined to earn the respect of all the powers on earth and become the emblem of more glorious deeds than any other flag in the history of the world. Born in the midst of battle, the first Stars and Stripes, also known as the Betsy Ross flag, proudly announced to the world the birth of a new nation!

In August of 1777, a small volunteer army engaged the Royal Army of England in battle at Fort Bennington, under the Bennington Flag.

Vermont and Kentucky joined the United States and congress passed a bill increasing the number of stars and stripes to 15.

This is the flag that flew over Fort McHenry, Maryland, during the bombardment of September 13th and 14th, 1814, and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star-spangled Banner,” which was later adopted as our national anthem. The American Flag, symbol of the new nation, had already won its place in the heart of all Americans. Soon the stirring words and music of the new anthem swept across the land.

As the nation grew, the flag first called the star-spangled banner, with its stars, soon gave way to a 28-star flag… the flag that scaled the heights of Chapultapec and Cerro Gordo in the Mexican War.

Then 36 stars… and beneath them, the Union Blue at Fort Sumpter and Appomatox won freedom for all Americans! Under 36 stars the west was won, and the nation extended from coast to coast!

Then 45 Stars… the Spanish-American War , where the flag was victoriously raised at San Juan Hill.

Then 48 stars… the flag and the “Dough boys” took “Over There” at Chateau-Thierry and Saint Mihiel. Again under 48 stars, World War II… the flag proved a glorious sight on Iwo Jima and at Guadacanal … and then later at Korea!

Today, under a flag of 50 stars… this nation has grown into the leadership of the free world! Under 50 stars man saw his dream come true — when Neil Armstrong took one giant leap for mankind — and planted “Old Glory,” the first and only flag on the moon!

Each star in “Old Glory” is an emblem that records a great event in the history of our country. Each tells the story of a great sovereign state which has entered the Union. The red stripes proclaim Courage… the white stripes, Liberty, and the field of blue stands for loyalty.

How many heros its folds have covered in death! How many have died for it! How many have lived for it! And wherever “Old Glory” has gone, it has been the herald of a better day! It has been the pledge of freedom and justice! We have a great heritage and “Old Glory” is truly a symbol of Liberty!


Ms. Jeske’s foregoing piece is a compilation drawn from original sources in 1975 and written as a boy scout flag ceremony, in honor of our nation’s 1976 bi-centennial celebration. Councilwoman Jeske has been involved in scouting as an adult leader since 1970; and this ceremony has been used in various other places around the state in the intervening years.

In addition to her Ogden City Council duties, Ms. Jeske is active in the Weber County Republican party, currently serving as a Weber County Republican State and County Delegate, and local Precinct Secretary.