By G. A. VolbJune 13, 2014
FORT IRWIN, CA. --The History Channel's "10 Things You Don't Know About" series visited here June 12 to film a segment focusing on the American Flag and its history.
The crew spent the day interviewing Soldiers on camera to highlight the rich history of the flag and some facts many Americans probably aren't aware of, such as why the flag's patch appears "backwards" on the right shoulder of Soldiers in uniform.
For the answer, show host Henry Rollins spoke with the National Training Center and Fort Irwin Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Travers.
The flag is worn with the "appearance" of being backwards on a Soldier's right arm to symbolize early American armies which had a flag carrier holding the flag high -- which looks backwards from one side while correct from the other, offered Travers. The "backwards" flag signifies this and gives the perception that every soldier is carrying a flag.
Travers said the same goes for vehicles and aircraft -- the flag always looks to be advancing.
Other interesting details brought up during their visit included the fact that, even though the United States became a nation far after many European countries, its national flag is the third oldest of the national standards of the world behind only those of Denmark and Austria. So the U.S flag is older than the Union Jack of Great Britain and the Tricolor of France.
Also of note is that the flag shares its birthday with the U.S Army, though the Army was founded on June 14, 1775, two years before the flag was born in 1777.
Rollins, an ardent supporter of men and women in uniform, spoke highly of the armed forces, Fort Irwin and the Soldiers he met.
"From what I've seen, this is an amazing place," said Rollins. "For troops training here it might be brutal, but it's probably a lot like a coach telling you to practice until it hurts. Then, when the real thing comes, you're ready and it doesn't hurt as much."
He said the National Training Center seems to be the "type of facility that helps bring our men and women home safely. It seems like it would be very effective. And that's what it's really all about, bringing our troops home safely."
Rollins not only talks support of the troops, he backs it up with action as he's volunteered for many USO Tours overseas. To date Rollins has already been on seven USO Tours to include combat areas like Afghanistan and Iraq, and sees himself heading out in the future again.
"I don't want to go anywhere it's fun and safe," he said. "I want to go where the troops are -- the high-threat areas so I can do some good."
Rollins offered his perspective on the American flag and his gratitude to the men and women who ensure what it symbolizes remains.
"To me it represents freedom and sacrifice," said Rollins, referring to what the flag represents and the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces who have given and continue to give so much to ensure his freedom.
"If you need me," he said, referring to those in the armed forces, "I'm ready to go. Put me in coach ... you guys are worth it."
The History Channel segment on the American Flag from Fort Irwin is scheduled to run sometime in late August.