Why is the US Flag Called Old Glory?

The 24 star version of the US flag.
The 24 star version of the US flag.

The Old Glory is a 17- by 10- feet weather-beaten banner. It has been a primary artifact second to Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner in American history. This banner has been a symbol of patriotism since it represents success, sovereignty, and righteousness. Many individuals in America refer to the American flag as the Old Glory, but only a few of them know how this name was coined. The original flag that was known as “Old Glory” came into existence about one hundred and eighty-four years ago.

History Of “Old Glory”

The drama and chronology of the American flag started way back in 1831. A young sea captain by the name William Driver was celebrating his birthday party. He was also enjoying the promotion as the shipmaster of the brig Charles Doggett. Friends and family who had gathered to celebrate with him had a present for him. These individuals presented Driver with a large American flag that had twenty-four stars. He unfurled it for the first time, and his reaction was “Old Glory.” That is how the name “Old Glory” came into existence. That voyage with Charles Doggett was quite memorable since they rescued number mutineers of the bounty. The following years, Driver waved his “Old Glory” from the mast as he sailed his ship.

Life Away From The Sea

Driver moved with his three children to Nashville in 1837. He made this move after losing his wife. Driver decided to marry again and had six more children. His brothers also lived nearby. Since he was no longer flying his flag from the mast of the ship, Driver would raise the flag every morning at his home in Nashville, Tennessee. Diver would continue to fly his beloved flag even as grumblings of secession continued to grow in the southern states of America. Tennessee managed to secede from the Union on the 8th of July in 1861. Confederates in Nashville demanded the Old Glory of driver. Driver was very loyal to his Union that was in the North. He never gave up his Old Glory despite the massive pressure that the Confederates mounted on him. Interestingly, he decided to sew it into a coverlet and hid the coverlet.

Driver ended up encountering other problems. His own home was split between the Southern and Northern-born. One of his sons made up his mind to join the Confederate Army and was killed in a war. Nashville became the first city to fall in February 1862 to the Union forces. The Union sympathizers replaced the Confederate flag with Old Glory. Over the years, the Old Glory went through repairs, and ten more stars were added. Driver sewed a small anchor at the lower right corner. Driver had another flag that was smaller and had a little wear. It is believed that this flag was only used for ceremonial purposes. These two flags are part of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian. Driver passed on in 1886. He was buried at Nashville City Cemetery. Therefore the name “Old Glory” was a beloved ensign of one sailor.


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