It proudly flies in the front of schools.
It is raised in front of public buildings.
It is displayed from the porches and in the front yards of countless homes around the nation.
It is raised each day at outposts in the far reaches of the world.
It stands tall and is recognized before the start of sporting events.
It stirs patriotism as it is marched past us in the front of parades.
It draws salutes from battle-tested men and women who remember what sacrifices must be made to defend it.
It covers the caskets of those who have died while fighting to ensure that the freedoms it represents will live to be enjoyed by members of future generations.
It is the flag of the United States of America, and today we honor it on Flag Day. It is the day each year we as a nation set aside to honor the symbol of our nation. It reminds us that we should be thankful for the free way of life we have lived under its brilliant colors for more than two centuries.
Our flag dates back to June 14, 1777, when it was recognized as the national flag by the Continental Congress. It took until May 30, 1916, for the federal government to set aside a day to honor the flag and until 1949 for Congress to officially designate June 14 as Flag Day.
The original flag featured 13 alternating red and white stripes representing the original 13 colonies.
A field of bright stars was set against a dark blue background to represent a new constellation, the new United States of America, that would shine brightly as a beacon of freedom.
Today's flag with 50 stars flew for the first time on July 4, 1960, representing a nation that welcomed Hawaii as the 50th state on Aug. 21, 1959.
Our flag is the simple, yet powerful, embodiment of the freedoms we enjoy - the freedom to live where we choose, the freedom to work at a job that we choose, the freedom to worship as we please, the freedom to read what we want to, the freedom to question our government and its leaders.
The flag represents the United States, all that is good, and all that is not always so good. While we always will agree or disagree with decisions made by our elected leaders, we must always remember that the flag stands for more, much more, and it is that we must take the time to remember today.