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Below is an excerpt from a recent presentation at a National Park Service Ceremony:
The Legend of Betsy Ross
Every American learns in grade school that Betsy Ross made the first American Flag. However, based on the lack of any supporting Documentation, most Historians agree that Betsy probably was not the actual designer or maker of the fist American Flag.
Personally, I agree that Betsy probably didn’t actually make the first flag.
But there is something more important than if she was in fact our nation’s first flag maker, and that is the spirit that Betsy Ross represents.
What we do know about her, is that she was in fact a seamstress, that she sometimes made flags, and that she made a good living at it. She was also a widow (twice in fact), a single mother who raised her children, an entrepreneur and business owner, a single women who owned her own home, something that was rare in her time, a patriot and a visionary of freedom that our country has come to represent.
In that light, Betsy left us with a legacy that is greater than the fame associated with being the first flag maker. She left us something much greater, the symbol of strength and individuality, of independence, of community, of responsibility, of family, of country. These are the things that truly make her famous.
There is a part of Betsy in all of us, and I think if she were here with us today, she would prefer that we remember her for those strengths, rather than any claim to fame for making our nations's first flag.
As we commemorate this special event, what is important is what the flag represents to each one of us as individuals. Those values that founded this country are still with us, and I hope that we are reminded every time we see the
flag. There is Betsy in each one of us, and that is the legacy that she would be proud of.