Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “Flag Day”

Birthday Songs

Happy, Happy Birthday to Me!

June 14th. It’s Flag Day and it’s my birthday. It’s embarrassing to admit, but clear up to the age of twelve, I believed my mother that the neighborhood, in recognition of my birthday, hung their flags out. You would think I would have become a bit suspicious of her story’s validity since there were flags out all over the town. Maybe I simply believed that strongly in my mother’s influence.

Flag Day first, then my birthday

Birthdays have always been a big deal for me. Growing up with flags unfurled can do that, I suppose. However, as the candles marked the increase of years, my enthusiasm has decreased for acknowledging my yearly passage. Unless it’s a big deal year—as in significant. Fifty was a big deal year. Not because 50 is a big deal—rather it was because my first grandchild was born the next day. That’s right, the next day. We missed sharing the same birthday by that much. This year, 2020, is not a big deal year. Two years from now, yes. Not this year. In fact, with the pandemic on, and the family separated, and in isolation, I’m not expecting much. I will hang my flag out though.

As for birthday songs, that’s another reflection of note. I’ve never understood the traditional birthday song. It’s morose sounding and usually sung off key. Trevor Noah provides an enlightening dissertation on the birthday song. He grew up with a much better version.

Years ago, my mom and step-dad began calling up and leaving a rendition of the birthday song on the answering machine. I had never heard that version before, and even though two retired permanent-status snowbirds sang it pitch unaware, it became a highlight of my birthday. Sadly, my step-dad passed away last May. No more songs, and Mom is too sad to sing solo. Yet, I discovered the song in a movie—a Disney movie called The Emperor’s New Groove. I don’t think the folks watched that movie, maybe if Barbra Streisand had been one of the voices, she would have, so I am wondering where they got their birthday song. I will have to ask her. In the meantime I will go find my flag.

Do you have a Flag Day birthday? Then happy birthday. May you have a happy birthday song sung to you!

Flag Day

140th US Flag Day poster. 1777-1917. The birth...

140th US Flag Day poster. 1777-1917. The birthday of the stars and stripes, June 14th, 1917. ‘Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh, long may it wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” Library of Congress description: “Poster showing a man raising the American flag, with a minuteman cheering and an eagle flying above.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

June 14th is Flag Day.  Actually everyday is Flag Day for me, because I love being an American.  When our principal’s voice comes over the speaker to “please rise, take your hats off, put your hand over your heart and repeat after me,” I do so–not because it’s what I have done since kindergarten; I do so because the pledge really, really means something to me. Red Skelton captured it best:


The Duke adds his own touch:

What is Flag Day? This day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which all began June 14, 1775.  Yet, it took a schoolteacher, Bernard J. Cigrand to mount up the needed patriotism that would eventually place the date on our calendars.

Not many government offices will be closed.  Don’t worry–the bank and library will still be open.  And don’t be disappointed  if Wal-Mart won’t be running a blockbuster sale.  You might see an isolate parade here and there.  There should be more flags than usual outside of storefronts and houses.  It’s a quiet day, one that speaks volumes of meaning, if a person takes the time to listen.

Flag Day quietly reminds us we were once a fledgling nation, a band of colonies, who fought for freedom of religion and craved independence.  We came from one nation, and eventually became a nation composed of many from other nations.

To be an American means different things to different people.  To me it means to  feel humble, yet proud, for I acknowledge we have our problems as a people and as individuals, yet how many other countries have the opportunities America does? For being so young, we have accomplished so very much.  I respect the flag and how it represents the freedom I have as an American. I also respect the lives that have fought to ensure I have that freedom.

I am saddened and even vexed when my students do not stand and recite the pledge.  Instead of showing my annoyance and handing out a lecture like I often used to do, I have begun a different course. I will pump my fist in the air and proclaim: “I love being an American!” Yes, my students think I’m odd; on the other hand, I really, really do love being an American and if I am to be their role model nine months out of the year, why not show them everyday how I truly feel?  Oh, yes I do love being an American.


Flag of the United States of America

Flag of the United States of America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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