Have you ever heard someone talking about “Old Glory”? Do you know what it means? (Show an American flag.) Our flag got this name in 1831. A famous sea captain, William Driver, was about to set sail when some friends gave him a flag to fly on his ship. At that time, the United States had 24 states. How many stars do you suppose his flag had? Yes, 24 stars for the 24 states.
When Captain Driver unfurled the flag, an ocean breeze caught it. It was beautiful! Captain Driver exclaimed, “Old Glory!” Six years later, Captain Driver retired and moved to Nashville, Tennessee. He took “Old Glory” with him. Almost everyone in that city knew about his flag, and when Tennessee seceded from the Union, the Confederate army was determined to find Old Glory and destroy it. But no matter how often Confederate soldiers searched his house, their searches came up empty.
Finally, on February 25, 1862, Union forces marched into Nashville. They raised the only flag they had with them over the capital. It was small and not very impressive. Patriots in the city saw it and started asking Captain Driver if he still had Old Glory.
Driver went home and ripped open the mattress on his bed. Inside, lay the flag, just where he had hidden it. He gently pulled it out and hurried back to the capital. Soldiers from the Sixth Ohio Regiment there took down their small flag and raised Old Glory. They began telling and retelling the story of how Captain Driver honored the flag and cared for it. As the story spread, more and more people began calling every flag, “Old Glory.”
Captain Driver is buried in the Nashville City Cemetery. That cemetery is one of only three places in which Congress has authorized the Flag of the United States to be flown 24 hours a day.
Getting to the Heart
Why do we honor our flag? (Let volunteers respond.) Yes, the flag reminds us of the country God has given us and all the blessings we enjoy here. What are some of those blessings? (Again, invite volunteers to respond.)
Most of all today, we are thankful for God’s glory. That glory is very old. In fact, it’s eternal! It always has been and it always will be. Sometimes people think that glory is God’s power or his holiness. Of course, God’s glory does include power and holiness.
But most of all God’s glory is his goodness to us, especially his mercy and grace in Jesus. It is God’s glory to forgive all our sins because Jesus died for us. (If time will allow, read Exodus 33:18-19.)
Heavenly Father, thank you for our nation and for those who have been wounded or even killed so that we can be safe and free. Thank you for the freedom to worship you. Thank you especially for our Savior, Jesus, and for the glory of his love and forgiveness. Teach us to treasure that glory always and to share it whenever we have an opportunity. Amen.
Looking for patriotic items that will remind the children you serve to pray for their nation and its leaders? CTA has a variety of appropriate choices–all value priced!