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Jun 14 2017
by Karly Matthews

8 Students Share What the American Flag Means to Them

By Karly Matthews - Jun 14 2017

Every June 14, Americans celebrate Flag Day, a day dedicated to the Stars and Stripes that represent our nation. The holiday was adopted 240 years ago and is part of a bigger celebration called National Flag Week. During this time, we remember our country's history and reflect on what the flag means to us.

Fresh U reached out to eight students regarding their feelings toward the American flag.

1. Amanda Morrison, Temple University, Global Studies & Strategic Communication

“The American flag is a symbol of the rich history of our amazing country, as well as the potential we have for the future. I love that the flag has 50 stars on it because actual stars are all unique, just like each of America's 50 states. Personally I think the flag is most representative of the potential of incredible leadership and empowerment that the United States can provide to the rest of the world, and that's why it's such an inspiring symbol to many.”

2. Rebecca Dunphy, Mercyhurst University, Dance

"The American flag is a representation of our country's core values and the ultimate sacrifice that countless men and women have made to protect these. With freedom and opportunity at the forefront of our country's principles, our flag is an emblem of our long history to create a nation that embodies such qualities and promotes justice for all."

3. Maya Ungar, University of Arkansas, International Relations & Political Science

“To me, the American flag is a symbol of patriotism. This is not to be confused with nationalism, which alludes to a blind love for country. Instead, patriotism focuses on improving and critiquing a country because of a love for it and a want for it to be the best it can be. No matter what happens in the political spectrum, in the U.S. we can work to change ourselves to constantly be better — much like the flag itself has changed as we have added states.”

4. Katlyn Batts, Wingate University, Public Relations

“I know this is very clichè, but the American flag to me means freedom and innocent blood shed to protect freedom. The flag symbolizes the freedom to say and think what we feel. The freedom to worship the God who provided us our rights. The freedom to raise a family without the fear of no opportunities, but with endless opportunities. The freedom to vote into office representatives that best represent you. I also have this secret symbolism of the colors of the flag, red represents the blood of innocent men, white represents the purity of our nation being one nation under God and blue represents loyalty to the founding principles of our nation. The American flag is a symbol I hold in high regard and will do anything to protect it and honor it, until the day I die.”

5. Linh Nguyen, Princeton University, Neuroscience

“In my eyes, the American flag is a symbol of patriotism, unity and the collective struggles of millions of people to bring about change and progress in our country. However, it has also been a method of justifying controversial actions and ideas for the sake of preserving 'American' morals.”

6. Brooke Weber, Muhlenberg University, English

“For me, the American flag is a complicated symbol — while it has been historically cherished as a stand-in for the boundless promise of opportunity this country holds, a promise that has given millions of people from all walks of life an essential glimmer of hope for a better future, the flag has also been held up and appropriated in the name of exclusion and elitism. Because the flag conjures up in me thoughts from both sides of this spectrum, then, I cannot definitively praise it for its capacity for love nor condemn it for its capacity for hate — it all depends on who is wielding the symbol itself. I think about how it might require a certain amount of privilege to be able to view the flag as a solely patriotic symbol; I then think about how so many who came to America with nothing have done just that, and then I think about the millions of refugees we have turned away in its name. When I think of the flag, I think of this discussion, this potential for conversation — a conversation that, especially today, is worth having.”

7. Monica Logroño, Temple University, Journalism

“The American Flag to me, means a united nation comprised of the 50 states. Although the U.S has been experiencing many problems that have created a divided nation such as police brutality, overall racism and inequality among races and genders, the flag still represents what the nation was founded upon, independence.”

8. Lynn Trumpower, Penn State University, Civil Engineering

“As an adopted child from China, the American flag represents opportunity and good fortune! I am well aware that I could have easily been placed with another family in another country, so I am grateful to live in the United States. I know the United States is not perfect but I think there are many wonderful things about this country that many people take for granted, myself included. To me, the American flag stands for the many men and women who have sacrificed and fought for these opportunities. Although I was born in China, America is my home. The American flag represents that. The American flag can be a symbol of great hope to those less fortunate and may even encourage people to strive toward their dreams! I believe it is a symbol to be proud of and that our actions should represent what we want the flag to embody. I know not everyone has a positive opinion of the American flag but I think it is important to at least acknowledge the significance it holds.”

Today and for the rest of this week, take a moment to think about the flag and what it represents to you as a citizen of this country or a member of its society.

Lead Image Credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr Creative Commons

Editor's note: All opinions expressed in this article belong to the students, and Fresh U does not necessarily endorse them.
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Karly Matthews - Temple University

Karly Matthews is a political science and journalism major with a Spanish minor at Temple University. In high school, she was editor-in-chief of her school's online newspaper, a member of the yearbook staff, a Spanish Club officer and a dancer for 12 years. In her free time, Karly drinks too much coffee and follows politics with an obsessive passion. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karlymatthews_!

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