June 2020

Happy Flag Day!

Check out our Fun Facts about Flags!

 

On June 14 we celebrate Flag Day to honor the American flag. It got us thinking—what about other flags? We all know the symbolism of the American flag: 13 stripes for the original 13 colonies, 50 stars to represent the 50 states of the US. But there’s a little more to the story of our flag than that.

We celebrate Flag Day on June 14 because the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the flag on June 14, 1777. However, flag day wasn’t official until President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation in 1912. And it wasn’t established as a holiday until 1949 with an Act of Congress. However, Flag Day isn’t a federal holiday so it’s still business as usual! Some places in the US do celebrate Flag Day with parades. In Fairfield, Washington, there’s been a parade since 1909 (or 1910, depending on who you ask!).

The current 50-star flag has been in use since President Eisenhower ordered it in 1960—that’s 40 years—and is the longest-used version of our country’s flag. The flag’s design is similar to the design used by the East India Trading Company, which was actually thought to be done on purpose, although not confirmed. The East India Trading Company, in the 1770s, was self-governing and opposed to Britain’s taxes, so some colonists thought a similar flag design would endorse their policies. There’s also a long-standing rumor that the flag is modeled after George Washington’s family crest, but there is little evidence to support this idea. Regardless, the flag design was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, and was first officially flown in battle on August 3, 1777, at Fort Schuyler. Soldiers stationed there cut up their shirts to make stripes, and their wives donated their red flannel petticoats. The blue background was created from a captain’s coat.

Here are some more fun facts about the American Flag

  • There have been 12 versions of the flag since 1777.
  • There are laws to prevent people from using the American flag for commercial purposes or advertisements, but they are frequently broken. Check out the US Flag Code!
  • Betsy Ross may not have created the first American flag. Many people believe it was NJ Congressman Francis Hopkinson.
  • When more states were added to the Union, more stripes were added but that idea was quickly abandoned for adding more stars.
  • The 50-star pattern in use today was designed by a high school student in Ohio.
  • Only 5 of the 6 flags planted on the moon are still standing.

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