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Today, on the 244th birthday of the American Flag, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on the freedom, opportunity, and liberty our flag represents:

“Today marks the 244th birthday of our great American Flag. On this day, the Second Continental Congress interrupted an urgent debate about the war to formally adopt the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of our new republic. Since then, there have been 15 different ‘official’ versions of our flag, including the Betsy Ross flag, the Fort McHenry flag, and the current flag. While each version was slightly different, every version stood for the same meaning: freedom.

“Today, Old Glory is one of the most powerful symbols on Earth. Since the American Revolution and the founding of our republic, oppressed people across the world have looked to the Stars and Stripes as a source of inspiration and hope. Sadly, a growing number of Americans do not. For them, our flag symbolizes only our nation’s flaws.

“But to me, and so many other Americans, we see our country’s flag as a reminder that we are privileged to live in this greatest nation on Earth. We see a flag that represents opportunity, liberty, and a long lineage of heroes willing to sacrifice it all to protect our way of life.

“Every time I place my hand over my heart and pledge allegiance to the flag, I am reminded that freedom is our most precious gift and protecting it is our most important responsibility. On Flag Day, we reaffirm our gratitude for our glorious flag and all of those who have served to defend the freedom it represents.”