Citizenship Lesson 1

Topic Progress:

Fear the Lord and King my son and do not join with the rebellious for those two will send sudden destruction upon them.

Proverbs 24:21-22

Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of the entire land of Egypt and as a sign that Joseph was second in command, Pharaoh gave Joseph his ring. The ring of Pharaoh was a symbol of the Pharaoh’s power. Joseph did not misuse either the ring or the power it brought. He loved his new country and he served it well. We treat our flag with respect because it is the symbol of our country. May God ever bless us with a country where we can worship Him freely and call upon His name in peace.


Imagine yourself standing on a street corner with your mom and dad, watching a parade begin. The first men to march past you are carrying the American flag; everyone stands and silently watches them go by. What does our flag stand for and why do we show it respect? These and other questions will be answered as we begin our study of the United States flag as it was yesterday, is today, and will be tomorrow.


The history of the flag starts with the beginning of history itself. Flags were first used to identify groups of people and were flown over their camp. They were also carried on their journeys and into battle. The history of our flag begins in the mid 1700’s. The flag of England flew over much of America and this flag played an important role in creating our first flag. This English flag, commonly called “The Union Jack” came into being when Scotland and England became one nation and their two flags were blended into one. (See Figure 2-1). During the early days of the Revolution in our country, there were many colonial or regimental flags. The pine tree was a very popular symbol on these flags but there were also many others such as beavers, snakes and anchors. There were also many slogans on these flags such as “Don’t Tread on Me” shown with the Rattlesnake Flag.

The first flag of the colonists that looked anything like our present-day flag was the “Grand Union” flag. This flag had thirteen stripes, alternately red and white, with a blue field in the upper left-hand corner and is shown in Figure 2-2. This blue field had the “Union Jack” flag on it. This then showed that there was still a union with the mother country. This was the flag used by the Continental army when it came into being in 1776. Though this “Grand Union” flag was used by many, it still was not official, and therefore not used by all of the colonies. As ships from the thirteen colonies were putting to sea to fight the enemy, a need for a national flag was seen.

Figure 2-1

England considered any armed vessel not flying a national flag as a pirate ship and hung their crews when they captured them. A resolution was passed on June 14, 1777, establishing a national flag. It is believed that this first national flag was designed by George Washington and a committee of men. This flag, known as “Old Glory” had thirteen alternate red and white stripes as the “Grand Union” flag had (see Figure 2-3).

Figure 2-2

These stripes were symbols of the thirteen colonies. The blue field had thirteen white stars (one star for each state) in a circle, showing that each state was equal to the others. The thirteen original states were: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia. “Old Glory” was a symbol of our country until 1794 when, because of the admission of the states of Vermont and Kentucky, the flag was changed to have fifteen stripes and fifteen stars.

It was this flag which inspired Frances Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner” on September 17, 1814. It became our national anthem in 1931. Tennessee was admitted to the union in 1796, Ohio in 1803, Louisiana in 1812, Indiana in 1816 and Mississippi in 1817. Each time another stripe and another star were added. A committee was appointed by Congress to study our flag and it was recommended that the stripes be returned to the original thirteen and a new star be added for each new state that joined the union. On April 4, 1818, Congress passed a law stating that a star would be added to the flag on the next 4th of July after the state joined the union. Our flag has had a number of changes in its appearance from 1818 until today (see Figure 2-4). You may want to check an encyclopedia to find out when your state became part of the United States and Figure 2-3 helped to change our flag.

Figure 2-3


Customs and laws govern how the flag is to be displayed and respected. When the American flag is hoisted up a flag pole, it should be done swiftly and by hand, indicating our pride in what it stands for (see Figure 2-5). When it is lowered in the evening, it should be done slowly, showing our respect for it. When a day of National mourning is declared, Figure 2-6 shows the flag raised to the top of the pole and then returned to half-staff. In the evening it is again hoisted to the top and then slowly lowered. Flags from other nations are flown at the same height. State flags are flown under the American flag on the same pole. When the flag is displayed in the church, it is placed to the Pastor’s right (the congregation’s left). If it is displayed in an auditorium or hall the flag is placed on the speaker’s right. When the American flag is carried in a procession or parade, it is to the marching right in a line of flags, or in front and in the center of the other flags.

We show our respect for the flag by observing certain rules. The flag is never displayed with the union down except as a signal of distress. It is not used as a covering for an object that is being unveiled, and it should never be allowed to touch the ground, the floor, or nearby objects. It is also never dipped or lowered to any person or thing. Figure 2-4 Figure 2-5


Proper care of the flag means making sure that it is clean and in good repair. When the flag becomes tattered and torn, it should be burned and replaced. During the ceremony of hoisting and lowering the flag, or when the flag is passing in a parade, those in uniform should salute the flag. If not in uniform, the men should remove their hats and everyone should place their right hand over their heart.

To fold the flag study Figure 2-6. It is first folded lengthwise and then folded again, making sure that the union shows on both sides. Start folding at the opposite end of the union, making a triangular fold. Keep folding in triangles until you reach the end.

When folded, the blue field, or union, should be showing.


The “Star-Spangled Banner” is our National Anthem. It is sung at many different occasions by individuals and by everyone present. The words were written by Frances Scott Key while he was watching the opening battle of the War of 1812. It is a majestic song that tells of our pride in our country and the flag that symbolizes it. Here are the words to the first verse of the “Star- Spangled Banner.”

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets’ red glare,

the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro’ 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?

Figure 2-6

Posted in .