America is truly a land of the free and home of the brave. What we often forget is that freedom came, and continues to come, at the cost of many brave American’s lives. The founders of our great nation thought radically with their vision of a free country, a democratic republic by the people and for the people. If you aren’t familiar with the story of these United States of America, read The 5,000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen (available on Amazon). This book will quickly and simply educate you on our country’s history, founders beliefs and the essential elements of freedom. It’s fantastic.
Betsy Ross was born January 1, 1752 as the eighth of seventeen children to her parents Samuel Griscom and Rebecca James. A fourth generation American, she grew up a Quaker and attended a Friends public school in Pennsylvania. Her story is an inspiring one from the start. She became an apprentice to a local upholsterer after finishing school. It was that apprenticeship that led her to her first love, John Ross, another apprentice and member at Christ Church. Despite knowing should would be kicked out of the Quaker community for marrying an outsider, Betsy eloped with John Ross in November 1773 at the age of 21. She was immediately cut off from all her Quaker ties and privileges.
It’s important to realize the significance of what they were asking her to do. By making the flag, she was stating her allegiance to the revolution, which was treason, and undertaking the great task of creating the symbol of a new nation. It’s pretty amazing that someone who had already lost a husband, and nearly her business, to the very war they were asking her to support, would accept this task for a cause she had already lost so much for. She must have been an optimist and was clearly a fighter. Betsy was willing to take a chance with her life to support the revolution. She even joined the Fighting Quakers that supported the war and became a prominent member of their meeting house.
As we celebrate America’s independence from Great Britain this July 4th, take a second to reflect on the freedom we enjoy because it was not, and is not free. Many brave Americans, like Betsy Ross, fought hard for the freedom we enjoy. Despite all of her struggles, including the loss of three husbands and two children, Betsy Ross gave everything she had at great risk to do her part in helping establish our country. Her blood, sweat, tears and dreams went into that first flag. Through that flag, that great symbol, she left her eternal mark on history. Let her inspire you to be brave in your own struggles and to do your part in our nation’s continued freedom in whatever way that may be. When you see a flag flying this Independence day, remember all the men and women who have contributed to our Freedom, some at the ultimate price.
God bless the USA!
NOTE: July 4th is the day the Continental Congress finalized the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration in June 1776, submitted the draft to the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776, the same day they declared independence. The Declaration was signed on August 2, 1776 but not delivered to Great Britain until November 1776. Nonetheless, we now celebrate our great nation every 4th.