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Flag Day Celebrated June 14

By Rayetta J. Addy

June 7, 2024

Flag Day is June 14 and celebrates the adoption of the American flag, the official symbol for the United States: our Stars and Stripes. This day was first recognized by Congress on June 14, 1777, and became known as Flag Day.

The first official national flag, formally approved by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, was the Stars and Stripes. That first Flag Resolution read, “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.”

Betsy Ross was an American seamstress who, according to family stories, fashioned and helped design the first flag of the United States.

Betsy Ross Flag, 1777-1795.

The Stars and Stripes changed on May 1, 1795, when Congress enacted the second Flag Resolution, which mandated that new stars and stripes be added to the flag when new states were admitted to the Union. The first two new states were Vermont in 1791 and Kentucky in 1792.

United States Flag with 15 Stars and 15 Stripes, 1795-1818.

In 1818, after five more states had been admitted, Congress enacted the third and last Flag Resolution, requiring that henceforth the number of stripes should remain 13, the number of stars should always match the number of states, and any new star should be added on the July 4 following a state’s admission. This has been the system ever since.

Our flag with 50 stars and 13 stripes, 1959 to present day.

 

In all, from 1777 to 1960 (after the admission of Hawaii in 1959), there were 27 versions of the flag – 25 involving changes in the stars only. An executive order signed by President William Howard Taft on October 29, 1912, standardized for the first time the proportions and relative sizes of the elements of the flag; in 1934 the exact shades of color were also standardized.

The U.S. flag has 13 stripes: seven red and six white. A blue field with 50 stars is located next to the staff in the upper left corner of the flag. It extends from the top to the lower edge of the fourth red stripe. The stars are arranged in alternating rows of six and five representing the 50 states of the United States. The stars do not represent any given state.

The Red, White, and Blue did not just happen by accident. The founding fathers wanted the colors to have meaning and not just look visually pleasing. Red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

You have probably seen Neil Armstrong on the moon with an American Flag, but he is not the only one to plant one on the surface of the moon. Five additional Apollo missions: 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, ended with an astronaut placing a flag on the moon.

Flags should be disposed of in a “dignified manner.” If an American Flag is damaged beyond repair and you need to dispose of it, you can burn it with dignity. Contact any member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or American Legion to dispose of a damaged flag.

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