Students will learn what a symbol is and how this particular symbol—the American flag—is an important part of our everyday lives. Learning the history of the flag will help instill in students respect for our national symbol and help them learn appropriate etiquette regarding our flag. Students will learn that other symbols of our country, such as the president and certain holidays, like Flag Day, are important to us as well. Students can also contribute symbols from their familial, ethnic and national cultures to show the diversity of American society and its links to other parts of the world.
This lesson highlights one of the Center’s biggest civic holidays —the birthday of the American flag. Using “The History of the U.S. Flag,” a video hosted by Terry Ruggles and produced by Drexel University and the Philadelphia Flag Day Association, this lesson encourages students to take a closer look at the American flag and its meaning.
“Traditionally a symbol of liberty, the American flag has carried the message of freedom to many parts of the world. Sometimes the same flag that was flying at a crucial moment in our history has been flown again in another place to symbolize continuity in our struggles for the cause of liberty.”
Our Flag, a Congressional publication, briefly describes the history of the flag, and sets forth the practices and observances appropriate to its display (Senate Document 109-18). 2007.
This lesson explores Texas v. Johnson, the controversial 1989 Supreme Court decision on flag burning. First, students read about and discuss Texas v. Johnson. Then in small groups, students role play aides to a U.S. senator on the Judiciary Committee. The committee is considering a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning flag burning, and the aides must make a recommendation on whether the senator should support or oppose the proposed amendment.