Daniel Shade – Flag House Scholar 2013

Congratulations to our 2013 winner, Daniel Shade!

A bit about our winner:

Daniel is a high school senior from Old Mill High School in Millerville, Maryland -where the mascot is the Patriots.  He is second in his class, a national merit finalist and an eagle scout.  Daniel graduated on June 4th, 2013 as co-valedictorian of his class and will be attending Johns Hopkins University in the fall.

2013 Question:

We at the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House believe that the American flag is our nation’s most important symbol, reflecting the principles of liberty upon which our Founders based America’s unique form of government. The American Flag stands for unity, equality, freedom and the rights that are uniquely ours in the United States, such as the freedom of speech, of assembly and of religion. We also believe that the flag functions as a reminder of our responsibility as a people to fully participate in our democracy by doing such things as voting, staying informed about critical issues and respecting the rights of others.

In short, we think that, even in this increasingly complex world, the flag is as relevant today as a daily reminder of the rights and responsibilities of being an American citizen as at any point in our nation’s history.

How is the United States flag relevant to you?

Daniel’s Essay:

I see the United States flag every day. It is displayed in front of every public building, in every classroom at my school, and on the sleeve of my Boy Scout uniform. The flag’s presence is a constant reminder of my rights and the equality of all Americans. But despite the importance of the equality and freedom the flag symbolizes, the flag is relevant to me primarily because of the unity it has come to represent.

Across the nation, the flag is a symbol that brings everyone together behind common ideals. Many images like the bald eagle or Liberty Bell can evoke patriotism, but no other symbol matches the flag’s ability to unite people with little else in common. The image of the American flag has helped our nation band together to overcome struggles time and time again, and has thereby come to represent hope. The flag is at its most important in times of trouble, for the sense of unity and resilience that it inspires pervades our nation when it is needed most.

Today, many would agree that we as a nation are fighting to retain the success and ideals we have held for so long. Problems such as lost hope in the government’s ability to manage the economy and provide high-quality public education challenge our country, but the flag still has the power to unite this nation and restore that lost hope. This makes the flag as important now as it has ever been.