U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, plans to introduce a resolution this week to honor the “historic, cultural and political significance” of the 13-star Betsy Ross Flag.
The Bost resolution comes about a week after Nike pulled a shoe from shelves featuring the flag after former NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick voiced concerns over the design to the shoe company.
“The Betsy Ross Flag represents the founding spirit of a new nation, one built from 13 very different states with a shared commitment to freedom,” Bost said. “Betsy Ross and her flag inspired patriots and suffragists. It has been displayed proudly at bicentennial celebrations and presidential inaugurations. Now more than ever, we should hold tight to the values this flag represents and not allow it to be torn and tattered by today’s political debates.”
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, is co-sponsoring the resolution, which is expected to be introduced later this week to allow time for other representatives to sign on as co-sponsors.
According to legend, then-General George Washington had asked Ross to create the flag in 1776 for the new nation.
Bost’s resolution aims to defend the legacy of Ross and the flag design and how it represents the founding of the country.
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The resolution does not mention Kaepernick, Nike or race relations.
Bost’s office acknowledged there is no way to control how people will interpret the resolution.
Kaepernick noted the Ross flag, which became the first flag of the United States and included a circle of 13 stars, was offensive because it had connections to the slavery era, according to reports.
Nike decided to pull the “Air Max 1 USA” sneakers from store shelves after Kaepernick voiced his concerns. The shoes were being released as part of the Fourth of July celebration.
Kaepernick, who has an endorsement deal with Nike, gained notoriety for kneeling during the national anthem as a way to protest racial injustice.