On July 4, we celebrate the anniversary of the start of the American Revolution for independence in 1776, and we honor our ancestors who declared “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Those ancestors made and flew the first widely known symbol of unity, equality and freedom for our country, the Betsy Ross flag.

The Betsy Ross flag must never, ever be co-opted by any person, corporation or group for anything other than what it stands for: unity, equality and freedom.

Betsy Ross, my direct ancestor, had a part in the making of the circle of stars flag. Raised as a Quaker, she was a hardworking seamstress who embraced the revolutionary spirit for unity, equality and freedom.

In our family, we fly the Betsy Ross flag high and proud in our community on July 4 alongside our current flag to help us remember and honor those long ago who fought for and gained our country’s independence, and to honor those today who keep the ideals of unity, equality and freedom alive and well, and exemplify this spirit every day in our communities.

And so I say again to you: It is our responsibility — citizens and corporations both — to discuss, promote, and preserve the meaning of the Betsy Ross flag. We must fight to defend these symbols from being co-opted or misused for anything other than the pursuit of those ideals.


John Harker

Mount Vernon

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