Jul 4, 2010

My 4th of July Flag Tradition

Every 4th of July I put out my three small American flags.  These are not your typical plastic decorations that every Walmart and Dollar Store sells at this time of year.  These flags are special because they came from my Father's family.

I suspect they are from the World War I era.  They are wooden with a ornate painted gold tops on the pole part.  Remarkably the flags are in great condition.  They are special because they remind me of old family traditions.  My father told me he remembered waving these flags during the July 4th parades when he was a small child.  He kept them in the "special trunk" in the basement when I was a child.  They only came out on the 4th of July.  I loved that "special trunk".  It held such mysteries and I was not allowed to look inside unless my father was with me.  It had that distinctive "old things" smell.  To this day I love the smell of musty old books and things.

They had remained packed away after my Father's death and I was very excited to finally locate them after all my parent's belongings were moved into our house.  The first time I put them out my husband asked "Did you get a good discount on those flags?  I hope so because they only have 48 stars on them!"  He doesn't always get it when it comes to old family belongings.  The same with Grandma's plates ("Can't we get our own dishes?") and the pictures all over my walls ("My house has too many pictures of dead people I don't know!"). 

But these things remind me of the people who are now gone and traditions from my childhood.  They keep a connection alive to those that have passed on, as well as to ancestors I never met.  I feel today many old traditions have been lost and that is a shame.  So I will continue to put out my flags with 48 stars, eat off of Grandma's dishes, and hang pictures of "dead people" on my walls.

In celebration of our country's independence I will close with a very neat picture from my Dad's family album.  It is a group of children taken on July 4, 1918.  I do not recognize any of the names so I suspect they were friends or neighborhood children dressed for an Independence Day celebration or parade.

Wishing everyone a very happy, fun filled and safe 4th of July holiday!


  1. How wonderful and special! Thanks for sharing. Do you have a photo of those 3 wonderful flags with only 48 stars??

  2. I agree Carol, would love to see a photo of those very special flags.

    I very much enjoyed this family story, thank you so much for sharing with us.

  3. I know your 48-star flags must be absolutely beautiful. I think it's wonderful that your father saved the flags, told you stories about them, and that you have them and put them out every 4th of July. Great tradition, great photograph!