Nashville's Flag Day connection...

EDITOR'S NOTE: This blog post was edited on June 14, 2014 in observance of Flag Day.

Today is observed as Flag Day throughout the United States. According to the National Archives:

William Driver's Tombstone
at the Nashville City Cemetery.
"On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. Flag Day has been observed in various forms since the late 1800s, but it wasn't until 1949 when Congress permanently designated June 14th as Flag Day. An 1818 law required a new star to be added for each new state admitted to the U.S. The law failed to describe how a new pattern for the stars should be configured so thousands of citizens, especially school children, sent their suggestions for a new flag design to the White House."

Did you also know that Captain William Driver, a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts, christened our national flag's name "Old Glory"? According to legend, "William Driver's mother and the "girls of Salem" sewed the flag which he hoisted on his first ship and christened "Old Glory." On an 1831 voyage to the South Pacific, Driver's ship was the sole surviving vessel of six that departed Salem the same day. He subsequently escorted sixty-five descendants of the Bounty survivors from Tahiti back to their home on Pitcairn Island and is said to have been convinced that God saved his ship for that purpose." Driver went on to serve as a city council member in Nashville from 1862 to 1864 and again in 1865, but was defeated in his bid to become Nashville's mayor. Captain Driver's grave in the Nashville City Cemetery is only one of three places authorized by Congress where the Flag of the United States may be flown 24 hours a day.


Gordon Belt is the Director of Public Services for the Tennessee State Library & Archives, and past president of the Society of Tennessee Archivists. On The Posterity Project, Gordon offers reflections on archives, public history, and memory from his home state of Tennessee. His book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, examines the life of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory.