Flag Collection

    Washington’s Cruisers

    1775 - ?

    At the 1981, National Boy Scout Jamboree an ongoing theme was the historic flags that had flown over our nation. Each of the eighteen sub-camps flew one flag such as this and Scouts were given a patch of the flag along with eighteen trading cards so they could collect the entire set. This flag flew over Jim Potjunas’s campsite and was presented to him at the end of the trip. General Washington outfitted a squadron of six schooners at his own expense in the fall of 1775 for use in the coastal waters off the colonies. His secretary, in writing to the agents preparing the cruisers, suggested they use a flag that was then flying over the floating batteries- an all-white banner with the bold green shape of a tree standing in the center, and across it the prominent words, AN APPEAL TO HEAVEN. The flag linked the Founding Fathers’ love of God and freedom - their conviction that “THE GOD THAT GAVE US LIFE GAVE US LIBERTY.” This is one of the first symbolic expressions of our country’s firm reliance on divine providence. The sturdy evergreen represented “The Liberty Tree.” The Sons of Liberty used to rally beneath a large tree, which became known as the Liberty Tree - and in turn became a symbol of American Independence. In their fight for freedom, our country’s Founders know they opposed the world’s mightiest military power of their day; but they were convinced they were sustained by a still mightier Power. Hence their “Appeal to Heaven.” In the words of Washington: “ALMIGHTY GOD, WE MAKE OUR EARNEST PRAYER THAT THOU WILT KEEP THE UNITED STATES IN THY HOLY PROTECTION. . .”

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