The Story of Flag Day
“And the rockets' red glare
The bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave”
These famed words, penned by Francis Scott Key following the defense of Fort McHenry in 1814 during the War of 1812, pay tribute to the stars and stripes of our nation in a way very few words have through the course of our history. This week, we again honor the colors of our nation with the observance of Flag Day.
While not a federal holiday akin to the Fourth of July, Flag Day holds an important place in the history of our nation. It recognizes the day in 1777 when our then fledgling nation adopted old glory as it has been called, as the official colors of the “thirteen United States”. While taking a break from drafting the Articles of Confederation, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution which, “resolved, that the flag be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” For George Washington, this was an important symbolic step towards unifying colonial fighting forces who at times were flying what were known as the ‘Continental Colors,’ a flag that was comprised of thirteen alternating red and white stripes, but which had the Union Jack in place of our now famed stars. He felt that any use of the Union Jack was a demoralizing symbol that could hurt morale in the fight for freedom from British rule.
While Flag Day was observed in an unofficial capacity by some following the end of the Revolution, it wasn't until 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that Flag Day be observed every year on June 14th. Even then, Flag Day wasn’t officially codified until August 3rd, 1949, when Congress approved its national observance, and President Harry Truman officially signed it into law.
Throughout our history, our flag, much like our nation, has consistently evolved. From the original 13 stars, signifying a new constellation and our new, unified nation, to the 50 which now adorn it, our flag is an incredible symbol of our shared history, our shared sacrifice, and our unwavering belief in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So, this weekend, if you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to get out your American flag and display it proudly in honor of this incredible symbol of our great nation.
Our Hall of Flags
If you haven’t visited our State Capitol building recently, it’s definitely worth the trip. And, when you go, a true highlight is our ‘Hall of Flags.’ The Hall features more than 100 flags, many torn and tattered, carried into battle by the brave men and women of the Granite State. There are flags from virtually every conflict including the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, both World Wars and Vietnam. It’s truly an awe-inspiring display – that paints a visual representation of our nation’s continued ‘fight for freedom.’
Historic generals, military leaders, elected officials, even presidents have touched the flags that are on display. The flags showcase and symbolize the meaning of freedom, courage, and commitment to uphold the rights of the men and women of our country. There are flags with bullet holes in them, there are flags that are bloodstained, and there are flags stained with tears. It goes without saying that without the preservation and leadership of those involved in the Hall of Flags so much of our history might’ve been lost, and so much well-deserved honor might not be recognized today.
As a young boy I remember visiting the State House and seeing those flags, and as a State Legislator seeing those flags took my breath away every time I walked into the building. Still to this day when visiting our State Capitol, I make it a point to stop and admire those flags for they represent who we are and what we stand for.
So, please take a moment, next time you are in the Concord area to pay a special visit to the State House and enjoy this historic treasure!
Hampton – New Hampshire’s Ocean Beach
Hampton is undoubtedly best known for having New Hampshire’s most accessible and visited beach. While our state has a relatively limited coastline (a grand total of 18.57 miles), Hampton’s stretch has certainly had a major impact on the Granite State.
Interestingly, Hampton is the third oldest town in New Hampshire, being first settled in 1638. Originally called Winnacunnet and a part of Massachusetts, this small seacoast town maintained hostilities with the Native Americans well into the 1700’s. The name, Winnacunnet didn’t stick, however, and was changed to Hampton in 1639. It was named after Hampton, England where one of the early settlers of our Hampton had been preaching before arriving to America. To put Hampton in proper historic perspective, I think it is important to note that this town was approximately 150 years old when the Revolutionary War started!
When we flash forward to today, most people know Hampton for ‘Hampton Beach.’ The beach which is now a State Park was given to the State of New Hampshire in 1933 after a severe storm destroyed the breakwaters and the townsfolk decided it was in their best financial interest to have the State use (i.e. ‘financially support) the beach rather than continue to try and maintain it. This led to the State Park which is a summer-time attraction in New Hampshire featuring a sandy coastline and an idyllic setting that is frequented by people from all over the area to relax and enjoy. One of my favorite features about Hampton Beach is how wonderfully accessible it is to one and all. Unlike much of New England’s coastline, Hampton Beach is open and available for us all to enjoy, not just reserved for those with beach houses! Come enjoy our beautiful, sandy Hampton Beach!
Positive Profile of the Week: Joe Faro
I am delighted this week to highlight a true entrepreneur, Joe Faro. At the Sunshine Report, we live by the motto: 'Positive energy, inspires positive change, that inspires positive results.’ And, there is no doubt that Joe is the true embodiment of these values.
Most people know Joe as the founder and entrepreneurial force leading Tuscan Brands. What started as a Salem, NH, Italian restaurant has blossomed into a company that spans restaurants in multiple states, food distribution and retail operations, and most recently the opening of one of the most ambitious and visionary real estate and land projects in northern New England, the Tuscan Village.
However, prior to Tuscan, Joe had already achieved entrepreneurial success in yet another, separate business. During his final year at UNH in the early 90’s Joe created a business plan that involved pasta. Through great perseverance and energy, Joe’s college project became a successful company that involved warehouses, hundreds of staff, and eventually the acquisition of his first company by Nestle Brands. And, all of this, Joe accomplished before the age of 40.
And, even this past year, right in the midst of the pandemic, Joe’s positive approach was once again on full display – when almost unbelievably, he and his team successfully opened a new restaurant – and have had great success! Located in downtown Portsmouth, the Toscana Italian Chophouse and Wine Bar, has been a valuable, positive contribution to the town. Karen and I dine there frequently. Such wonderful food, terrific friendly service and an upbeat vibe. No wonder it’s been such a hit.
Beyond all this, Joe is involved in the community in so many ways and he never stops. During Covid, gift card proceeds aided his staff and their families affected by the pandemic. He gives back to so many charities across the region, knows every aspect of his company, isn’t afraid to work the kitchen, and is an advocate of good things for the Granite State. He brings people together and his friendly embrace makes you feel right home!
We in our Granite State community are so very fortunate to know Joe and are blessed by his many positive contributions. Thank you, Joe!
Quotes of the Week: The American Flag
“Standing as I do, with my hand upon this staff, and under the folds of the American flag, I ask you to stand by me so long as I stand by it.” - Abraham Lincoln
“As long as I live, I will never forget that day 21 years ago when I raised my hand and took the oath of citizenship. Do you know how proud I was? I was so proud that I walked around with an American flag around my shoulders all day long.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger
“I stand fearlessly for small dogs, the American Flag, motherhood and the Bible. That's why people love me.” - Art Linkletter
“The American flag is the symbol of our freedom, national pride and history.” - Mike Fitzpatrick
“Martin Luther King, Jr. didn't carry just a piece of cloth to symbolize his belief in racial equality; he carried the American flag.” - Adrian Cronauer