July 23, 2009|
While on vacation several weeks ago, I found a wonderful article on our United States flag, the one that we call “Old Glory. There was no author’s name with the article, no date of publication, the sheet had been torn from probably a magazine and left in a drawer. The article was entitled “We Call it Old Glory!”
“The famous name of “Old Glory” was coined by Captain William Driver, a shipmaster of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1831. As he was leaving on one of his many voyages aboard the brig Charles Doggett – and this one would climax with the rescue of the mutineers of the Bounty – some friends presented him with a beautiful flag of 24 stars. As the banner opened to the ocean breeze for the first time, he exclaimed “Old Glory!”
Captain Driver retired to Nashville, Tennessee in 1837, taking his treasured flag from his sea days with him. By the time the Civil War erupted, most everyone in and around Nashville recognized Captain Driver’s “Old Glory.” When Tennessee seceded from the Union, Rebels were determined to destroy his flag, but repeated searches revealed no trace of the hated banner.
On February 25, 1862, Union forces captured Nashville and raised the American flag over the capital. It was a rather small ensign and immediately folks began asking Captain Driver if “Old Glory” still existed. Happy to have soldiers with him this time, Captain Driver went home and began ripping at the seams of his bedcovers. As the stitches holding the quilt top to the batting unraveled, the onlookers peered inside and saw the 24-starred original “Old Glory.”
Captain Driver gently gathered up the flag and returned with the soldiers to the Capitol. Though he was 60 years old, the captain climbed up to the tower to replace the smaller banner with his beloved flag. The Sixth Ohio Regiment cheered and saluted – and later adopted the nickname “Old Glory” as their own, telling and re-telling the story of Captain Driver’s devotion to the flag we honor yet today.
Captain Driver’s grave is located in the old Nashville City Cemetery, and is one of three places authorized by an Act of Congress where the Flag of the United States may be flown 24 hours a day. “
After typing this article, I decided to find the other two places where Congress had authorized “Old Glory” to fly 24/7. I found that our Flag is flown at five places 24/7 without verification of specific authorization, and they are The Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, the U.S. Capitol, the Jenny Wade House in Gettysburg, Francis Scott Key’s grave in Frederick, Maryland, and Captain Driver’s Grave.
I also found this following list of places where Presidential proclamations and laws authorize that “Old Glory” is displayed 24 hours a day:
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore
Flag House Square (Mary Pickersgill’s “Star Spangled” House) in Baltimore
United States Marine Corp Memorial (Iwo Jima) in Arlington, Virginia
On the Green of the Town of Lexington, Massachusetts
The White House
The Washington Monument
United States Customs Ports of Entry
Grounds of the National Memorial Arch in Valley Forge State Park