The flag: Old glory united the US

345fe67ed50a852273a80b3bc1bdab7b

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many Americans gravitated to the one item that symbolized the country’s unity and resilience. That symbol became a hallmark at sporting events, houses of worship and even on niche merchandise worn by young and old, alike.

It was the American flag.

Unlike other countries that identify more with religious or ethnic symbols, the stars and stripes remains the single-most identifiable representation of American values hundreds of years after its creation.

“It’s about sacrifice and everybody knows that, and sometimes people don’t even know that they know it,” said Carolyn Marvin, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communications. “We put this flag over coffins. We do not put the eagle over coffins, we do not put George Washington over coffins. This flag represents the so-called ultimate sacrifice.”

Marvin said the flag has different meanings at different times, but ultimately is a tribute to the lives lost in the fight for American freedom. Post-9/11 isn’t the first time it has become a popular fixture in society, she noted.

“During the first Gulf War, you had exactly the same kind of response. And then it tends to lessen and go away for a while, and if there’s some crisis that [captures] the attention of the country … then it will come out again,” she said.

The first time the flag was used as a unifying sign was in the 19th century after the Civil War as the country tried to heal, Marvin said. Since that time, it has been used in the fight for Civil Rights and other causes.

And while the flag is a source of pride for many Americans, there are still some who oppose, but Marvin said that’s natural. “It is the nature of these kinds of symbols that speak for large ongoing groups.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.