From The Celebrating Americas Freedoms Series
The name "Old Glory" was first applied to the U.S. flag by a young sea captain who lived in Salem, Mass. On his twenty-first birthday, March 17, 1824, Capt. William Driver was presented a beautiful flag by his mother and a group of Salem girls. Driver was delighted with the gift. He exclaimed, "I name her 'Old Glory.'" Then Old Glory accompanied the captain on his many voyages.
Captain Driver quit the sea in 1837. He settled in Nashville, Tenn. On patriotic days he displayed Old Glory proudly from a rope extending from his house to a tree across the street. After Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861, Captain Driver hid Old Glory. He sewed the flag inside a comforter. When Union soldiers entered Nashville on February 25, 1862, Driver removed Old Glory from its hiding place. He carried the flag to the state capitol building and raised it.
|Image courtesy of ttarasiuk-Flickr CC2.0|
Shortly before his death, the old sea captain placed a small bundle into the arms of his daughter. He said to her, "Mary Jane, this is my ship 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 flag remained as a precious heirloom in the Driver family until 1922. Then it was sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, where it is carefully preserved under glass today.