Sunday, October 28, 2012

The First Official American Flag – Guess Who Saluted?


 

The American Flag, affectionately known as “Old Glory”, has a storied history and tradition dating all the way back to Betsy Ross. Unfortunately, not many are aware of the true beginnings of the ensign chosen to represent the work against King George and his British Redcoats. The story of its initial unfurling makes for interesting reading.

 In the finely crafted work of the late Tupper Saussy, Rulers Of Evil, we find the story of the creation of the official Flag for the 13 Colonies and the Official designs of Independence from British Rule, both Monarchial and Parliamentary. While official British policy through its governmental agencies was being rejected by the Founding Fathers, acceptance of British rule through Official economic entities was another matter entirely.
       
Rulers of Evil informs us of this account.

 “During the fall of 1775, Congress authorized a committee made up of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Lynch, Benjamin Harrison, and George Washington to consider and recommend a design for the first united colonial flag. The so-called Flag Committee traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts. There, according the only known account of its proceedings, given in Robert Allen Campbell’s book Our Flag (Chicago, 1890), the committee mysteriously shared its authority with a complete stranger. This stranger was an elderly European transient known only as “the Professor.”……….

 At the evening session [December 13, 1775], Franklin turned the meeting over to “his new-found and abundantly honored friend.” The subject was a flag. Addressing the committee as “Comrade Americans,” the Professor explained that, since the colonies were still dependent upon Great Britain, “we are not expected to design or recommend a flag which will represent a new government or an independent nation,” but instead one “that will testify our present loyalty as English subjects,” a flag that was “already in use,” a flag that had been recognized by the British government for “half a century,” a flag having a field of alternate horizontal red and white stripes with the Grand Union Flag of Great Britain in the upper left hand corner.

 “I refer,” he said, “to the flag of the East India Company.”

To hide the fact that Americans would be fighting under the private flag of an international mercantile corporation controlled by Jesuits, the Professor provides a plausible cover whereby the flag could be “explained to the masses”:

 The Union Flag of the Mother Country is retained as the union [upper left corner] of our new flag to announce that the Colonies are loyal to the just and legitimate sovereignty of the British government. The thirteen stripes will at once by understood to represent the thirteen Colonies; their equal width will type the equal rank, rights and responsibilities of the Colonies. The union of the stripes in the field of our flag will announce the unity of interests and the cooperative union of efforts, which the Colonies recognize and put forth in their common cause. The white stripes will signify that we consider our demands just and reasonable; and that we will seek to secure our rights through peaceable, intelligent and statesmanlike means – it they prove at all possible; and the red stripes at the top and bottom of our flag will declare that first and last – and always – we have the determination, the enthusiasm, and the power to use force – whenever we deem force necessary. The alternation of the red and white stripes will suggest that our reasons for all demands will be intelligent and forcible, and that our force in securing our rights will be just and reasonable."

The Professor reminded the committee that “the masses of the people, and a large majority of the 
leaders of public opinion, desire a removal of grievances, and a rectification of wrongs, through a fuller recognition of their rights as British Subjects; and few of them desire and very few of them expect – at this time – any complete severance of their present political and dependent relations with the English Government.” That severance would occur “before the sun in its next summer’s strength” – indicating that the Professor foreknew………..a July declaration of independence. At that time, the East India Company flag could be “easily modified” by replacing the Union Jack with stars against a blue background, “to make it announce and represent the new and independent nation.”

 Washington and Franklin lavished the Professor’s idea with “especial approval and unstinted praise.” The committee formally and unanimously adopted the East India Company’s banner, known as “The Thirteen Stripes,” as the general flag and recognized standard of the Colonial Army and Navy.”……..

 On January 2, 1776, at a formal ceremony attended by the Flag Committee, George Washington personally hoisted the East India Company flag “upon a towering and specially raised pine tree liberty pole,” unfurling it to the breeze and displaying it for the first time “to his army, the citizens of the vicinity, and the British forces in Boston.” The British officers at Charleston Heights perceived the event

To mean that General Washington had thus announced his surrender to them. At once, they saluted  “The Thirteen Stripes” with thirteen hearty cheers. They immediately followed this spontaneous outburst of British Enthusiasm with the grander and more dignified official salute of thirteen guns, the thirteen gun salute being the highest compliment in gunpowder, the military “God speed you.”……The redcoats were toasting the good health of the rebels, who in turn were fighting for the East India Company.”

How many remember learning this tidbit of historical trivia from any history course? Yet, here it is! Can you fathom the significance of such an event, one that finds your enemy providing their highest military honor in the face of you unfurling the chosen emblem of your official military resistance? And how about the fact that the man who would later be chosen to General the Revolutionary forces and become known as The Father of America is the one actually lifting the ensign, the exact ensign of the mightiest entity ever created by the British Government, The East India Company?

Could it be that we've missed something in our details and understanding of the American Revolution? Is it possible for such details like this, that have been ignored by many, to begin to slowly paint an unfamiliar historical landscape for us to consider. Is it possible that historical fact as recorded by the original actors and spectators of American origins can undeceive modern American progeny?

Regardless, we should never fear the Truth!
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