I’ve always been a bit suspicious of people who put a very high value to a flag, because all too often after reminding the viewer of what the flag symbolizes the writer goes on
the suggest that the viewer do something that they would normally feel was against their interests, liking fighting people 12,000 miles away.
However I recently came across a flag that genuinely moved me, not, I would emphasize, because of the values it represents which are hereditary monarchy and huge gifts to aristocrats, but because of the history of the flag.
Here it is:
This is The Calvert Arms/King’s Colors of 1754 which has the antique gold and black diamonds of the Calvert coat-of-arms as the field. The Calverts were the Lord Proprietors of the Royal Colony of Maryland. (This is the same design that is used in two quarters of the current flag of the State of Maryland, the other two quarters use the design of the “Crosslands.”) It was certainly used in King Philip’s War of 1675 and in the later French and Indian War and flew over Fort Cumberland.
This may have been the first British-American flag to go into battle with George Washington . Fort Cumberland once marked the westernmost outpost of the British Empire in America, and was the jumping-off point for General Braddock’s disastrous expedition against the French at Fort Duquesne in present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When Braddock was killed, a young officer of Virginia militia, George Washington, led the troops back to Fort Cumberland. At the fort, Washington clashed with Captain Dagworthy, who had supervised the
building of the fort, over the issue of military rank and which colonial officer should be in command: Washington was a Major in the Virginia militia, outranking the Maryland Captain, but Dagworthy countered that because he also held a Royal commission as a Captain in the Regulars (British Army), he automatically outranked any colonial militia officer.
As someone who is both British and American I find the flag appealing but it is more than that. It was the flag that George Washington, who was an aide to General Braddock, marched under during the French and Indian war. British regular troops and colonial militias fought side by side – and loathed each other.
When George Washington (above) signed on for the Braddock expedition he “refused to do so as a provincial officer, since he would be outranked by even junior officers in the regular army that British officers were always senior to colonials regardless of rank.)”
American movies do a truly terrible job of explaining why the Revolution took place. (The worst, by far, is Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot.” ) Taxes were higher after the revolution and only rich, male landowners were represented in government. But the arrogant condescension of British politicians and soldiers was gone forever!