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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Flag Day and Father's Day*

June 14 and June 15, we observe Flag Day and Father's Day, respectively. As such, we pay tribute to our flag and our fathers---both symbolize many things to many, i.e., pride, power, strength, ideals and virtues.

Here's a quick flashback on our U.S. history: It was June 14, 1777, that the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the national flag of the fledgling United States, replacing the British Grand Union flag. This date becomes Flag Day on modern American calendars.

According to legend, Betsy Griscom Ross (1752-18360, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, reputedly designed and made the first U.S. flag, in 1776, at the request of our first U.s. president, George Washington.

The official national flag consisted of 13 horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with six white, and in the upper corner near the staff, a rectangular blue field containing 50 five-pointed white stars. The stripes symbolize the 13 colonies/states that originally constituted the United States of America. (The 13 originally colonies are New Hampshire Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.) The stars represent the 50 states of the Union. As to the colors red, white and blues in the flag: White signifies purity and innocence; red hardiness and valor; and blue, vigilance, perseverance and justice.

Weeks ago, my wife Freny and I  found ourselves filling up our shopping basket with goodies and other food items at a store. Boxes of (distinct) Stars and Stripes cakes by Little Debbie Snacks caught my eyes. I tell you, these sweet dessert cakes are irresistible! What surprised me was that at the back of each box was information or rules on how to display the flag, such as, "Hoist the flag briskly; lower it ceremoniously. Do not allow the flag to touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor or water."

Such a patriotic gesture, huh? Anyway, thanks Little Debbie! You're quite informative and educational, notwithstanding your commercialistic appeal and intent to "feed' us.

On the other hand, here's to all of us dads (or fathers, grandfathers, and father-figures in the life of a child or children. Thank you to all of us who continue to be responsible Dad or Papa).

I have two children---son Andrew and a daughter Christine. But every Father's Day, I miss my dad, the late Martin David who, I believe, is now in heaven looking after my siblings and me. (My Mom passed away earlier.)

Dad was a humble man, a carpenter-fisherman and laborer. I still remember moments I spent with him catching fish in the early mornings along the seashore back in the Philippines. Young as I was, about 9-10 years old, he taught me to be patient when catching fish with his net. He also demonstrated to me how to persevere to succeed in life. How I wish I had more time with dad!

Happy Father's Day!

-Chris A. Quilpa, is a Suffolk resident who has retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years of honorable service.

*Published in Suffolk News-Herald on Thursday, June 12, 2008.

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