The heartwarming story behind how the American flag was nicknamed Old Glory.
American history is a common topic within schools in the United States; included in that subject is the rich history of the American flag. Several Americans know what the 13 stripes and 50 stars of the American flag represent; some people can even go further and tell you what the colors red, white, and blue also mean. (Check out this blog post if you are interested in learning more about the colors of the flag!)
Fewer people know how the American flag was nicknamed Old Glory.
The story of how “Old Glory” first came about dates all the way back to March 17, 1824, the 21st birthday of a young sea captain from Salem, Massachusetts named William Driver. On that day, his mother presented him with a brand new beautiful American flag to accompany him on his journeys. Driver was overjoyed and immediately named the flag “Old Glory.”
From then on, Old Glory joined Driver on every sea voyage until he quit sailing in 1837 and traded in his sea legs for a permanent home in Nashville. He continued to display this flag from his home on patriotic holidays.
However, when Tennessee broke off from the Union in 1861, the Captain hid Old Glory by sewing her inside his comforter. But the flag emerged once again when Union soldiers entered Nashville in 1862. Driver then proudly carried his flag to the capitol and raised Old Glory to the blue sky.
Before his death though, William passed the flag on to his daughter and said, “Mary Jane, this is my ship’s flag, Old Glory. It has been my constant companion. I love it as a mother loves her child. Cherish it as I have cherished it.” The precious heirloom flag remained in the Driver family until 1922 when they donated it to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. where is currently rests preserved behind glass.