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Flag Day

Flag Day


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What Is Flag Day?

When the American Revolution broke out in 1775, the colonists weren’t fighting united under a single flag. In June of 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in ...read more

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson gives Flag Day address

On June 14, 1917, as the soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) travel to join the Allies on the battlefields of World War I in France, United States President Woodrow Wilson addresses the nation’s public on the annual celebration of Flag Day. Just the year before, on ...read more


Getting Behind The History Of Flag Day

The American national flag has come through an eventful course of changes. The flag which we see these days has been effective since July 4, 1960. This was following the inclusion of Hawaii in the United States of America. However, this flag featuring 50 stars on a canton against the background of 13 stripes - 7 red and 6 white - has been evolved through a long course of time.

From 14, 1777, the day the Stars and Stripes, had received the approval of the Continental Congress till the June 14, 1960, there had been some 27 changes in the face of the flag. Out of these 25 were due to the difference in the number of stars alone. In fact, with each state being annexed to the Union, the number of stars in the flag had to be changed.

Quite interestingly, the history of observance of the National Flag Day is no less a lengthy process. From June 14, 1877, the day when the Congress observed the centennial of the birth of the national flag, till August 3, 1949, when President Truman designated the National Flag Day. There has been a sustained effort by individuals as well as organizations to promote the observance of the Day.

And also take a plunge into the history to know about the way the glorious Stars and Stripes fueled the inspiration of Dr. Francis Scott Keys to compose our national anthem the all time glorious.


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WASHINGTON (WJW) — Sunday is Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States of America.

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution approving the design of a national flag.

“Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation,” the resolution said.

American seamstress Betsy Ross showing the first design of the American flag to George Washington in Philadelphia. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

According to legend, President George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the new nation. However, the Library of Congress reports that scholars actually credit the flag’s design to Francis Hopkinson, who also designed the Great Seal and first coin of the United States.

Scholars also say that it is highly likely that Ross met Washington and did sew early American flags in her family’s Philadelphia upholstery shop.

The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building or Capitol Hill, is the seat of the United States Congress, the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It sits atop Capitol Hill, at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

There have been 27 official versions of the US flag, each having varying arrangement of the stars, until 1912 when President Taft standardized the then-new flag’s forty-eight stars into six rows of eight.

A forty-ninth and fiftieth star have since been added to the American flag to represent all states in the union. The current version of the flag dates to July 4, 1960.

The country began celebrating Flag Day in 1916. That’s when President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14.

Congressional legislation designating that date as the national Flag Day was later signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1949. The legislation also requires the president to issue a flag day proclamation every year.

President Donald Trump released the following proclamation for Flag Day 2020:

On Flag Day and throughout National Flag Week, we pay tribute to the American flag, the most recognizable symbol of the principles for which our Republic stands. For more than 200 years, the Stars and Stripes has represented liberty, justice, and the rule of law. Recently, as our Nation has come together to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, our flag has been a reminder of the courage, tenacity, and loyalty that define the indomitable American spirit.

Our great flag causes us to reflect humbly on the immeasurable price that has been paid to keep it “so gallantly streaming.” Throughout our Nation’s history, proud patriots have nobly answered the call of duty when our country needed them most. The Star Spangled Banner serves as an everlasting remembrance of the sacrifices heroes of every generation have made in conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our flag ensures that we never forget the incredible sacrifices our men and women in uniform have made to defend our liberty and way of life.

This year, Old Glory has waved over millions of brave Americans fighting the invisible enemy, often at risk to their personal health and wellbeing. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare professionals have treated and cared for those sickened by the virus, and countless American patriots have provided critical goods and services to their fellow citizens in these uncertain times. These dedicated individuals have risen to the challenge, meeting the virus on the frontlines with the same conviction and unwavering determination that has empowered our Nation to overcome previous trials. Just as we prevailed in those struggles, we will emerge victorious against this new enemy and again raise our flag in triumph.

The American flag represents the unity of our country and its people. No matter what may divide us, Old Glory should be revered and cherished, as a symbol of all that makes America the greatest country in the world. As we honor our beautiful flag on this day and throughout this week, let us vow never to forget the tremendous sacrifices made by patriots from generation to generation to ensure that the red, white, and blue continues to fly high and free. Today, and every day, I am proud to join my fellow Americans in standing tall and saluting our great American flag.

To commemorate the adoption of our flag, the Congress, by joint resolution approved August 3, 1949, as amended (63 Stat. 492), designated June 14 of each year as “Flag Day” and requested that the President issue an annual proclamation calling for its observance and for the display of the flag of the United States on all Federal Government buildings. The Congress requested, by joint resolution approved June 9, 1966, as amended (80 Stat. 194), that the President issue annually a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as “National Flag Week” and calling on all citizens of the United States to display the flag during that week.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim June 14, 2020, as Flag Day, and the week starting June 14, 2020, as National Flag Week. I direct the appropriate officials to display the flag on all Federal Government buildings during this week, and I urge all Americans to observe Flag Day and National Flag Week by displaying the flag. I encourage the people of the United States to observe with pride and all due ceremony those days from Flag Day through Independence Day, set aside by the Congress (89 Stat. 211), as a time to honor America, to celebrate our heritage in public gatherings and activities, and to publicly recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.


U.S. Flag Day history, facts and etiquette

Today is Flag Day, the official observance in honor of the star-spangled banner that represents the United States of America.

The Second Continental Congress adopted the first American flag on July 14, 1777 and President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14 to be Flag Day in 1916. National Flag Day was then established by an Act of Congress in August 1949.

Below are 13 more interesting facts about the American Flag and Flag Day from usa.gov and usconsulate.org unless otherwise noted:

1. The American flag consists of 13 alternating red and white stripes that represent the 13 original colonies, and 50 white stars on a blue field, with each star representing a state.

2. Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777 - stated: "Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

3. The colors on the flag represent: Red: valor and bravery White: purity and innocence Blue: vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

4. Stars are considered a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial. The stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun.

5. In the Pantone system the colors are: Blue PMS 282 and Red PMS 193.

6. The flag may have started it out with 13 stars, but over the years, it has displayed a wide number of stars. To see how the star field has grown throughout the years, click here.

7. When an American flag appears worn or otherwise no longer appropriate for display, you should destroy it in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

8. According to legend, President George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create the first flag for the new nation in 1776. However there is no evidence that supports this claim.

9. It is customary to only display the flag from sunrise to sunset. A flag may be flown 24 hours a day, but it must be illuminated in some manner at night.

10. In 1916, Wilson established June 14 as a chance to "rededicate ourselves to the nation," as he wrote in his proclamation. He wanted Americans to take Flag Day to leave behind "every thought that is not worthy of our fathers' first vows in independence, liberty and right" and instead "stand with united hearts, for an America which no man can corrupt, no influence draw away from its ideals, no force divide against itself.”

11. The Pledge of Allegiance was penned in 1892. It read, "I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Congress put the phrase "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.

12. In 1909, Robert Peary placed a flag at the North Pole and there are six American flags left on the moon from the Apollo missions.

13. Flag Day is observed nationwide, but Pennsylvania is the only state that recognizes it as a legal holiday.

American flag through the years

The first American flag featured 13 stars and 13 stripes to represent the original colonies.

In 1818, an act of Congress set the standard that the flag would have 13 stripes representing the original 13 colonies with a star for each new state to be added in the blue field.

The 50th and final star on the current U.S. flag was added in 1960 after Hawaii received statehood in 1959.

Between 1818 and 1960, there have been several variations of rows and star arrangements.

The current arrangement features nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.

How to properly dispose of American flag

The American flag is a patriotic and important symbol of the U.S. and is treated with the utmost respect.

The United States Flag Code outlines certain guidelines and etiquette for displaying the flag and proper disposal when it becomes torn or too tattered.

If an American flag can no longer serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner.

Burning the American flag after a proper retirement ceremony is the preferred method to dispose of a flag.

VFW.org offers these directions to properly dispose of a U.S. flag:

The American Legion and other organizations also regularly conduct flag retirement ceremonies, often on Flag Day.

Copyright 2016 by KSAT - All rights reserved.

About the Authors:

RJ Marquez

RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio.


Flag Day and the History of Old Glory

In 1775, discontented colonists wanted a flag that represented their independence. Several versions of the flag followed. An early version featured a snake with the slogan “Don’t Tread on Me.” Another, known as the Liberty Tree, displayed an evergreen tree with red, white, and blue stripes. A late 1775 flag presented the British Union Jack along with 13 stripes to represent the 13 colonies.

Then a seamstress from Philadelphia came on the scene. It was Betsy Ross who replaced the Union Jack with a circle of 13 stars designed to represent each of the original colonies. This was the version officially adopted on June 14, 1777, a day we now designate as Flag Day .

On holidays like Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day, Americans fly their flag proudly.

Displaying the American Flag

When it comes to flying the American flag, it’s important to know and honor a few basic rules, including:

  • Hang the flag only in places where it will be kept clean.
  • Always allow the flag to fall freely. Don’t tie or fasten it back.
  • Unless there is lighting to spotlight it, the flag should be flown only from sunrise to sunset.
  • When the flag is hung in a window, the stars should always face north.
  • Only in an emergency can the flag be flown upside down as a symbol of distress.
  • Never use the flag as a decoration or as clothing.
  • Don’t let the flag touch the ground.
  • When displayed in a row with other flags, Old Glory should be placed on the viewer’s left.
  • If flags of other nations are also being flown, all the flags should be at the same height. When state and local flags are being displayed, the American flag should be the highest one.
  • If the American flag is part of a procession or parade, attendees should stand, face the flag, and place a hand over the heart. Men and boys should also remove their hats. Veterans, military personnel, police, and firefighters should salute the flag.
  • When the flag is displayed as part of a speaker’s platform, it needs to be placed behind, above, and to the right of the speaker.
  • On Memorial Day, the flag is flown at half-staff until noon, and then it is raised.
  • If taps are played during a Flag Day celebration, veterans and active-duty military personnel must salute the flag until the end of the song.

We hope you will keep these rules in mind when you display an American flag!

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Free Printables For Flag Day

​Flag Day marks the day when Congress adopted the flag of the United States as the official national flag in 1777. It is celebrated on June 14 each year.

While not a federal holiday, Flag Day is still an important occasion. Cities throughout the nation hold parades and events to celebrate. The week of June 14 is considered to be National Flag Week. The President of the United States issues a proclamation urging citizens to fly the American flag during the week.

​National Flag Week and Flag Day are wonderful occasions to teach children about the history of our flag. Learn about the facts and myths surrounding the American flag. Discuss how and why the flag was created, who was responsible for its creation, and how it has been updated over the years.

You may wish to discuss the symbolism of the flag, such as the fact that the stripes stand for the original thirteen colonies and the stars stand for the fifty states.

Ask your children if they know what the colors represent. (If not, do some research. Some sources cite a meaning while others state that there is no meaning.)

Flag Day is also a good time to learn about flag etiquette, such as when and how the flag should be flown, how it should be disposed of, and how to properly fold the United States flag.

​Use these free, downloadable printables to enhance your lessons about Flag Day.


HISTORY

The “Stars and Stripes” was designated the official National symbol of the United States of America by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777-the fifth item on the agenda that day. It was resolved in the Journal of the Continental Congress “that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” In 1885, a school teacher named Bernard J. Cigrand encouraged his students to reflect on the real meaning and majesty of this symbol.

In Waubeka, Wisconsin, nineteen year old Bernard J. Cigrand placed a 10” 38-star flag in an inkwell on his desk at the front of his one room classroom. He prompted his students to write an essay about what the flag meant to them, referring to that day, June 14, as the flag’s birthday. From that day on, Cigrand dedicated himself to inspiring not only his students but all Americans to reflect on the grand significance of “Old Glory.”

A little over three decades later in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14th as National Flag Day. President Wilson proclaimed, “The Flag has vindicated its right to be honored by all nations of the world and feared by none who do righteousness.” On August 3, 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress recognizing the holiday of Flag Day and encouraging Americans to celebrate it.

On June 14, 2004, 108th U.S. Congress unanimously voted on H.R. 662 declaring Flag Day originated in Waubeka, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin.

Now, Stony Hill School is a historical site and is located in Waubeka, WI, and the National Flag Day Foundation (of which Cigrand was once president) is still actively pursuing Cigrand’s mission. A yearly celebration of Flag Day occurs on the second Sunday in June, and patriots of not only Waubeka, WI but from across the Union gather to celebrate where Flag Day was founded.


Flag Day’s national debut came in 1916, almost two centuries—and more than 20 designs—after the flag’s adoption in the United States. On June 14 of that year, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation acknowledging the holiday.

President Calvin Coolidge issued a similar Flag Day proclamation in 1927. Congress recognized Flag Day with an official statute a few decades later, in 1949, under the Truman administration. The statute requested presidents issue annual Flag Day proclamations but did not designate it an official national holiday. Even so, all presidents since 1949 have issued a Flag Day proclamation.

But even before it received national recognition, Flag Day was pioneered by a number of patriotic citizens.

Bernard Cigrand, a nineteenth century Wisconsin school teacher, dentist, and reporter, is sometimes considered the “father of Flag Day.”

In 1885—when Cigrand was 19 years old and the flag contained 38 stars—the young teacher instructed his students in Ozaukee County to write essays entitled, “What the American flag means to me.” In the years that followed, Cigrand wrote several newspaper articles and books advocating for the creation of the holiday, including a public proposal in the Chicago Argus newspaper in 1886.

Cigrand died 17 years before the Congressional statute was passed, but Ozaukee County’s National Flag Day Foundation honors his legacy each June. And, on June 14, 2004, Congress passed an additional resolution officially recognizing that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County.

In response, National Flag Day Foundation Chairman Jack Janik, 85, said, “The community is overwhelmed, they’re so proud.”

The foundation holds such Flag Day events as a parade, family festival, and fireworks and curates three public museums, including one specifically dedicated to Cigrand. The foundation also hosts annual essay-writing contests for students in third to 12 th grade using Cigrand’s original prompt.

“The essays from all of these kids will absolutely make you feel very comfortable about the future of our country,” Janik says. “The flag means so much to them.”

Others also credited for promoting Flag Day in the late 1800s include William T. Kerr, a Pittsburgh native and founder of the Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, a descendent of Benjamin Franklin who petitioned for all public buildings to display the American flag, and George Bolch, a principal in New York whose school celebrated Flag Day in 1889.


Elsewhere on timeanddate.com

Independence Day

On Independence Day, Americans celebrate the anniversary of publication of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776.

Tisha B'Av

Tisha B’Av is on the ninth day of the month of Av in the Jewish calendar.

Eid al-Adha

Eid-al-Adha is an Islamic festival to mark Ibrahim's willingness to follow Allah's command to sacrifice his son. It is celebrated around the 10th to 13th days of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah.

Pioneer Day

Pioneer Day is an annual state holiday in Utah in the United States. It is celebrated to honor the pioneers who demonstrated industry and bravery when they ventured to settle in a place that is now Salt Lake City.


How Did Flag Day Start? A History of The Holiday

Flag Day takes place every year on June 14, as a way for people to commemorate the American flag, a symbol of freedom and independence. It isn't a day that changes date, like Thanksgiving. No matter the day of the week, June 14 is the day to celebrate by waving your own flags high.

The holiday isn't too widely celebrated. By that, we mean it hasn't become a major commercial holiday, like Memorial Day or Christmas. Because of that, many Americans may pass by Flag Day without even realizing they've missed an important holiday for the American tradition.

So how did Flag Day start? And is there a way you should be celebrating it?

The design of the American flag has a long history. It all began during the Revolutionary War, which began in 1775. You probably learned about it in history class: America was fighting for its freedom from the British, and the right to establish itself as an independent nation.

During this conflict, the Americans wanted a flag of their own. So they designed one: red and white stripes (like what you see on a flag today) and the British flag (or Union Jack) in the corner. But George Washington had a problem with the British symbol still being incorporated. He thought this might lower morale for the soldiers who were fighting to get away from the British leadership. So, he petitioned to have a new flag created.

On June 14, 1777, the new flag, which had 13 stars in a blue corner, was created to represent American freedom. That flag eventually transitioned into the same one we fly today, with 50 stars for 50 states.

Flag Day became an official holiday much later, in 1916. The best way to celebrate Flag Day is a no-brainer. Wave your flags high and proud. You can do this by putting an American flag outside of your home or office.

There are some other, bigger ways to celebrate, though. Some places hold parades, according to Military.com. Others host essay contests and picnics. Your own community may support some of these community activities, though there's a chance many are postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There are lots of conflicting reports about how the flag came to be. Some say that Betsy Ross created the first flag. That story is not only widely circulated but taught in some American history classes. There's no definite proof that Ross held this role, though, History Channel claims. Ross' grandson made this announcement in 1840, and there's been no other proof of Ross' involvement.


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