Battle of the Banners
By Whitney White
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freedmen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the brave choice of resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.”
This portion of the address to the Continental Army was made by General George Washington right before the Battle of Long Island in 1776. The Continental Army was organized on June 14, 1775, by the Second Continental Congress, and was comprised of preachers, farmers, slaves, tradesmen, and even young boys who were fed up with the unjust treatment of the British.
The Battle of Long Island would prove to be the largest battle of the Revolutionary War and the first major battle after the Declaration of Independence. The seasoned and professional British army of 20,000 troops dominated the 10,000 untrained American troops. Over 1,000 Americans were taken prisoner, 300 killed, and hundreds wounded. Washington’s great defeat could have led to the surrender of his entire force, but because of their sheer determination to “conquer or die” for the sake of independence, they were able to escape and continue the fight. This battle opened their eyes to the death and devastation of war, but for freedom…it was worth it.
These inexperienced soldiers pressed on month after month with little food, tattered clothes, damp shelters, and unsanitary living conditions. Smallpox and typhus killed more soldiers during the war than actual combat, but worse than death was to be taken as prisoner. Prisoners were held on disgusting British prison ships near New York, where they were tortured and starved. Over 8,500 American soldiers died in captivity, that’s nearly half of all American deaths during the entire war.
On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress made another major decision that would change history. Realizing the need for unity and a banner to boost morale as the American Revolution continued, they replaced the British symbols of the Grand Union flag with the official Flag Act stating,
“Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
Red symbolized valor and hardiness, white represented purity and innocence, and blue stood for justice, perseverance, and vigilance.
For the first time, the colonists were fighting under a single flag and motivated more than ever to win the costly War of Independence.
June 14, 1877, was the nation’s first observance of Flag Day on the 100th anniversary. A small-town Wisconsin teacher is known as the “Father of Flag Day” since he lobbied Congress for many years for Flag Day to formally be observed. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson officially established June 14 as Flag Day.
Sadly, on this June 14, 2019, there is another flag competing with our beloved Star-Spangled Banner. A flag that seeks to divide our nation, control our politics, and bully anyone with differing views and opinions. A flag that is not “for the people” but only for a small percentage of people. A flag that does not respect the biblical principles this country was founded upon, but celebrates sinful lifestyles that oppose God’s standard for the institution of the family.
The designer of this flag, Gilbert Baker, is known as the Gay Betsy Ross. In regards to his flag for his people he stated:
“I thought of the American flag with its thirteen stripes and thirteen stars, the colonies breaking away from England to form the United States. I thought of the vertical red, white, and blue tricolor from the French Revolution and how both flags owed their beginnings to a riot, a rebellion, or revolution. I thought a gay nation should have a flag too, to proclaim its own idea of power.”
“As a community, both local and international, gay people were in the midst of an upheaval, a battle for equal rights, a shift in status where we were now demanding power, taking it. This was our new revolution: a tribal, individualistic, and collective vision. It deserved a new symbol.”
“The rainbow is so perfect because it really fits our diversity in terms of race, gender, ages, all of those things. Plus, it’s a natural flag — it’s from the sky!”
Today is the silent, uncommercialized birthday of our United States Army and the American Flag. Tragically, our children will be more educated on the rainbow flag than the flag our brave servicemen bled, suffered, and died for. Through the month of June, our children will be taught about “pride” through cartoons, books, commercials, and social media. They will be subtly indoctrinated and saturated with “stand proud” slogans and rainbow flags everywhere they turn.
However, our great nation is not a gay nation, a republican nation, or a democratic nation. It is one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all… with one flag for all people. The fate of unborn millions did indeed depend on the courage and conduct of the Continental Army and all of the selfless military personnel to humbly follow in their footsteps as they bravely marched into danger following a banner that represented all American citizens of every race, gender, and religion.
My husband’s grandfather, who is a veteran, once told me, “It’s the only piece of cloth a man can hold and lead others into a situation that they may not come out of. It’s the only piece of cloth that will make a grown man weep. It’s powerful.”
On this June 14, we must take the time to teach our children their American history and that this day is only for the Stars and Stripes that encouraged ordinary men and women to press on, fight harder, and even pay the ultimate price for our independence.
We must remind our children of the blessings and liberties we have in the land of the free and the home of the brave. That is something to truly take pride in.
We must not judge, mistreat, or teach hate to our children towards the LGBT community. They are not our enemies and we all fall short of the glory of God. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. We must love them like Jesus, yet “stand strong” in our convictions and teach our children the truth of God’s plan for the family and that God alone created the rainbow.
Most importantly, while the battles between the banners rage, we must teach our children that this battle has already been won! Thankfully, the God of our nation is also our Jehovah Nissi, meaning the Lord our Banner. Soon and very soon, He is coming not to take sides, but to take over! Until the day He comes for His children, we shall “stand strong” and believe in the true Banner of love. Victory is in Jesus!
“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!” (1 Chronicles 16:31)