On June 14 all across the United States, people commemorate Flag Day. This day celebrates the birthday of the United States flag, which was first adopted on June 14, 1777. This day also coincides with the U.S. Army's Birthday, founded on June 14, 1775.
Flag Day is not a public holiday in the United States, schools and businesses run on normal hours.
The American Flag
During the American Revolution of 1775, the colonies that were fighting for independence from British Rule each had their own flags and regiments. This didn't give the hopeful country of the United States a sense of unity, thus, in June of the same year, the Continental Army was formed to get all the colonists fighting under one banner. In order to do so, an American flag had to be created. And so, the first American Flag was designed, then named the
Continental Colors. This flag consisted of 13 red and white stripes, to represent the 13 colonies, and had a Union Jack in the corner. It was soon noticed, however, that the presence of the British flag on the American flag did not inspire the revolutionary effort.
George Washington set out to create a new flag that symbolized America's freedom from their oppressors. On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress declared that the American flag should be 13 red and white stripes, with the union being represented by a constellation of 13 white stars in a blue background. And here the United States flag as we now know it was born.
History of Flag Day
The first known celebration of Flag Day happened in 1885 when school teacher Bernard Cigrand organized a celebration with his students at Stony Hill School. Cigrand was a great advocate for patriotism and respect for the flag and lobbied with the United States Congress for the creation of an annual Flag Day celebration on June 14. In 1886, Cigrand wrote an article for the Chicago Argus that proposed the establishment of an annual observance of the American flag's birthday. He is credited by many as being the Father of Flag Day.
Officially, it was in 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day, to be observed every year. Every year, the President in office should call on government officials and U.S citizens to display the American flags outside buildings and their homes.
Some Facts About the American Flag
- The flag is nicknamed Old Glory and Star-Spangled Banner. The latter is the title of America's national anthem.
- Although this is not confirmed, it is thought that Betsy Ross, a seamstress who made the flags for the Pennsylvania Navy, had a hand in creating the design for the American Flag and made the first one.
- Although the Flag started with 13 white stars representing the 13 original colonies of the United States, one star was added for every state that joined the country. The American flag currently has 50 white stars.
- The Flag Protection Act was passed during the Vietnam War making it illegal to burn or destroy the American Flag. However, it was later ruled that this was a violation of the First Amendment.
- The Flag Code states that representations of the American Flag should not be reproduced on apparel items, such as clothing, bedding or decorative items.