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Since 1777, The Design Of The U.S. Flag Has Been Officially Modified 26 Times

On June 14th, National Flag Day honors Old Glory and commemorates the adoption of the United States flag on June 14, 1777.

  • While Betsy Ross has been given credit for stitching together the first American flag, there isn’t any sound evidence supporting the story. At the same time, there isn’t any to disprove it, either. Part of the conflict is there were several designs in consideration at the same time.
  • Another who laid claim to the first design was Francis Hopkinson. His request for compensation for his design was denied because others contributed to the final design.
  • By resolution of the Second Continental Congress, the flag of the United States was adopted on June 14, 1777.
  • June 14th is not only Flag Day but also the official birthday of the United States Army, which was adopted two years before Flag Day in 1775.
  • Since 1777, the design of the flag has been officially modified 26 times. For 47 years, the 48-star flag was in effect. In 1959, the 49-star version became official on July 4. President Eisenhower ordered the 50-star flag on August 21, 1959.
  • Seventeen-year-old Robert G. Heft of Ohio designed the 50-star American flag. His was one of the more than 1,500 designs that were submitted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. 
  • On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation deeming June 14th as Flag Day. President Wilson stated, “It is the anniversary of the day upon which the flag of the United States was adopted by Congress as the emblem of the Union.”
  • He also wrote, “On that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, ‘one and inseparable’ from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers’ first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts.”
  • In 1949, an Act of Congress officially established June 14 as National Flag Day.
  • Bernard Cigrand, a small-town Wisconsin teacher, originated the idea for an annual flag day, to be celebrated across the country every June 14, in 1885. That year, he led his school in the first formal observance of the holiday. Nineteen-year-old Bernard J. CiGrand walked into his one-room schoolhouse in Wisconsin in 1885, stuck a 10-inch flag in an inkwell, and asked his students to write an essay on its meaning.
  • Cigrand, who later changed careers and practiced dentistry in Illinois, continued to promote his concept and advocate respect for the flag throughout his life.
  • The lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” America’s national anthem since 1931, are taken from a patriotic poem written by Francis Scott Key after he witnessed the Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. His words were set to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular British drinking song.
  • Despite the preponderance of “patriotic” gear ranging from tee-shirts to swimsuits to boxer shorts, the Flag Code stipulates that the Stars and Stripes should not appear on apparel, bedding or decorative items.
  • The practice of draping coffins with the American flag is not reserved for military veterans and government officials. On the contrary, any burial may incorporate this tradition.
  • The colors of the flag have important meanings. Red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
  • In 1894, the governor of New York directed that the flag be displayed on all public buildings on June 14
  • Pennsylvania is the only state that observes Flag Day as a state holiday.
  • The first time the flag was flown after being adopted was on Aug. 3, 1777, in Rome, New York.
  • There are six American flags on the moon. Five are standing, but Neil Armstrong’s fell over.
  • After a tragedy or death, the flag is flown at half-staff for 30 days. It’s called “half-staff” on land, and “half-mast” on a ship.
  • If you like to study flags, then you are a Vexillologist!
  • 50 flags fly 24 hours a day around the Washington Monument.
  • The flag always flies at the White House, Fort McHenry, and the Iwo Jima memorial


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