Flag Day — “Old Glory” History

June 14 is Flag Day. I found this bit of flag history on the VFW web site. I thought I would share it (the VFW has given permission).

The name “Old Glory” was first applied to the U.S. flag by a young sea captain who lived in Salem, Mass. On his 21st birthday, March 17, 1824, Capt. William Driver was presented a beautiful flag by his mother and a group of Salem girls. Driver was delighted with the gift and named the flag “Old Glory.” Old Glory accompanied the captain on his many sea voyages. In 1837, he quit sailing and settled in Nashville. On patriotic days, he displayed Old Glory proudly from a rope extending from his house to a tree across the street.

After Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861, Captain Driver hid Old Glory, sewing it inside a comforter. When the Union soldiers entered Nashville on February 25, 1862, Driver removed Old Glory from its hiding place. He carried the flag to the capitol building and raised it above the state capitol.

Shortly before his death, the old sea captain placed a small bundle into the arms of his daughter. He said to her: “Mary Jane, this is my ship’s flag, Old Glory. It has been my constant companion. I love it as a mother loves her child. Cherish it as I have cherished it.”

The flag remained as a precious heirloom in the Driver family until 1922. It was then sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., where it is carefully preserved under glass.

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