“It means just what Concord and Lexington meant; what Bunker Hill meant; which was, in short, the rising up of a valiant young people against an old tyranny to establish the most momentous doctrine that the world had ever known – the right of men to their own selves and to their liberties.” This quote from Henry Ward Beecher displays the pride that so many Americans feel when it comes to their flag.
Captain William Driver of Salem, Massachusetts, was one of these people. In 1831, when Driver was preparing to leave on a voyage aboard his ship, the Charles Doggett, he received a gift from his mother and other women from Salem. As Driver unfolded the large, 24-star American Flag in the ocean breeze, he could only say two words – “Old Glory!” Driver proudly waved the 10-foot by 17-foot flag aboard his ship until he retired, and then displayed it outside his new home in Nashville. Later, 10 stars were added as new states entered the Union.
When the Civil War broke out, Driver hid his flag between the layers of his blanket because the Rebels sought to destroy it. It wasn’t until February 25, 1862, when Union forces captured Nashville that Old Glory saw the light of day again. Driver climbed to the top of the Capitol building to proudly display this Old Glory for the last time.