69. Capture the Flag

Captured flags capture the imagination! In ancient Greece as well as Rome, many big victories in the military were often formally celebrated with a display of the captured arms along with notable cultural objects that were commonly referred to as war trophies.

During the Middle Ages, the European wars that took place during the 17th and 18th centuries as well as those that happened in the Napoleonic Wars saw armies use alternatives of this honoring procedure, wherein returning armies would regularly display flags that had been captured from the enemy in public buildings as well as in places of worship such as churches.

They would then be placed in a public space as either a morale boosting technique, as an overt symbol of victory or as a notable reminder of a past wartime accomplishments. Alternatively, they would be placed in a church or another place of worship in order to pay respect to their religion for yielding the army with a triumph or as a sign that marks the power of the outside influence of God to their worthy cause.

During the 20th century it was extremely common for soldiers to return to their home with a collection of wartime trophies and souvenirs and these often included an array of enemy flags. During WWII, U.S. soldiers who were returning from both the Pacific and European theaters of war sought the highly-prized Japanese and German flags, which were were plentiful.

While that practice continued to a lesser extent during the Korean Conflict, it was revived during the Vietnam War, and most recently in the conflicts in the Middle East.

The possession of a captured enemy flag is often considered the ultimate war trophy; literally one has "captured the flag".

Capture the Flag Grouping

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