National Flag Day

To commemorate the adoption of the United States Flag, this week is National Flag Week, culminating with National Flag Day on June 14.  During this week, the US Flag should be on display on all government buildings and all US citizens are encouraged to fly Old Glory as well.

Here are some interesting historical facts about Flag Day:

  • On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution that stated, “The flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new Constellation.”   The white signifies purity and innocence, the red characterizes hardiness and valor, and the blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
  • An executive order by President James Monroe in 1818 provided that a new star was to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of a new state.
  • The common nickname for the flag, “Old Glory” was given to a flag presented to Captain William Driver in the 1820s to be flown from his ship’s mast.  Driver’s “Old Glory” survived a voyage around the world, as well as attempts by the Confederacy to capture it during the Civil War.  Federal troops embraced “Old Glory” as a symbol and its fame spread nation-wide.  The original “Old Glory” still exists today at the Smithsonian.
  • The first unofficial Flag Day took place in 1861 in Hartford, CT, but did not catch on nationally.
  • After decades of local celebrations, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation in 1916 that June 14 would be National Flag Day.   Thirty-three years later, an Act of Congress officially approved and established National Flag Day.
  • Pennsylvania is the only state that recognizes National Flag Day as a legal holiday.
  • The current flag has 50 stars for the 50 states, but a 51-star flag already exists in case Puerto Rico is admitted as a state in the future.
  • Flag Day is also the birthday of the United States Army, founded in 1775.
  • American Flag app on iTunes relates all the history of the U.S. Flag from its conception to the present, as well as answering the most common questions regarding flag etiquette.

So don’t forget to proudly fly Old Glory this week!  George M. Cohan said it best in 1906 in his tribute to our national symbol: “Keep your eye on the Grand Old Flag!”

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