Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The "Backwards" American Flag

Being a Canadian, I see flags as being balanced.

In fact, since we are Commonwealth to the UK, I see their Jack as being balanced as well. -It's the perfect flag that denotes balance. Whether forwards or backwards, the Canadian and British flags are the same.

Not so for the United States Flag.

In fact, if you ever noticed that on forward deployed troops, the US Flag is shown to be "backwards" on the right shoulders of each soldier. Why is that? Is that an obvious mistake, or is there a deeper meaning that we didn't notice?

It turns out, that somebody in the US High Command made an amazing observation. They realized that if the US Flag were on a staff flying into battle, that the flag would appear backwards, with the stars being closest to the staff, and the stripes flying away from it. Conversely, if they were in retreat, the flag would fly conventionally as it appears on paper.

Seeing the distinction, it occurred to the US High Command that the troops would always be going into battle, and never in retreat, so they placed the flag "backwards" on the right shoulder of each serviceman to signify this.

It's a small observation, but obviously it was enough to inspire the change on the uniform, and to each serviceman who carries it into battle.

And to me, this is the stuff that inspiration is made of...

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