Ever wonder why people buy flags? Flags make great gifts, especially for those with a special connection to a region of the country or world. Often someone will buy a flag as a gift to bring a touch of comfort and pride to someone who is far away from home, or to signal solidarity with someone who is in that region. That's a great use of a flag but flags have much deeper meaning than that.
Flags reaffirm our group identities and have been around for as long as humans have been gathering into groups. Every culture on earth developed its own flags and even the most primitive tribe has flags or their equivalent. Flags identify others and self. Flags let you know who is friend and foe at a glance and act as a standing proclamation of belief or loyalty.
Every flag, be it a country flag, State flag or just a High School flag, has a group of people who identify with it and to some degree feel the flag represents them. Even pirate flags and smile face flags have their own constituents that they communicate to. For example, you can tell a lot about someone by the flags they have around. A boat owner with a U.S. Navy and POW flag is of a different mind than the yachtsman with a pirate flag whimsically flying from his wheelhouse.
Beyond just attitude there is real emotion behind the flag someone chooses. Just ask a Texan about the "Lone Star" on his flag or get an argument going over the old Confederate Battle Flag. Flags are big, beautiful and because they are part of our identity, they are very personal and emotional.
Some of the most emotional moments in history have featured flags. As examples; the first planting of the USA flag on the moon, the raising of the flag over Iwo Jima or more recently the flag that survived the 9/11 attacks that made their way on tour around the country. Its was practically a religious experience for many.
When an upset population takes to the streets chanting and shouting they always take the flag they feels represents them. Where slogans and chants have to be heard to be understood, a flag immediate identifies a group. When people feel that they flag has been betrayed or no longer represents them they will find a new flag.
Wars have started over insults to a flag or a flag being burned in effigy.
Every two years the Olympics reminds us again the wide spectrum of humanity on this planet and each pocket of humans has their own flag that they waive proudly.
So, the next time you see a flag or type in "buy flag" to a search engine to go an find a flag, realize that it means something personal and emotional to someone - and be sure to choose and fly your own flag proudly!