“O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light...” I guess Ralph Lauren wanted his grandchildren’s children to see the flag that inspired our national anthem, because he is one of the major contributors that donated the funds to save it! The flag in question, is the enormous Star-Spangled Banner that has hung in the Smithsonian over the last century. It was flown on September 14, 1814 in Fort McHenry, Baltimore, during the War of 1812, and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the haunting lyrics that later became the United States’ national anthem. Ralph Lauren, whose label epitomizes classic Americana sophistication, is no stranger to the national symbol, as his Polo brand’s icon is also Old Glory! In 1998, Polo Ralph Lauren pledged $10 million to the cause of saving the nearly 200-year-old piece of history. Lauren went on to actually give $13 million to the cause (which was nearly half of the money donated!) Lauren even wrote the forward for the 2008 book, Star-Spangled Banner: The Making of an American Icon, which tells the story of the flag and the measures taken to save it. Our editors were surprised to see the classy designer’s name printed outside the exhibition when we visited the flag last spring, and ended up investigating. Museum director Brent Glass said, “Ralph Lauren really reflects the American dream in his personal story,” as a Bronx-native named Ralph Lipchitz, who went on to build his own business that would make him a billionaire, and become synonymous with American style. Lauren stated, “The flag is an inspiration for all Americans and it captures the dreams and imaginations of men and women all over the world. I am a product of the American dream and the flag is its symbol. We at Polo Ralph Lauren are incredibly honored to be able to make this possible.” It’s nearly inconceivable to separate American sportswear from the Ralph Lauren label, so it makes sense that he will forever be affiliated with another icon that embodies the American experience. Today, it’s especially important to remember the sacrifices our veterans have made so we could all pursue our own American dreams, and remember how important Old Glory really is.