What is Flag Day? It is the day to commemorate the adoption of Stars & Stripes as the official flag of the United States of America. Most of us celebrate this day by displaying the US Flag in front of our homes but do we know our flag’s history? Legend has it that in 1776 President George Washington commissioned Betsy Ross, a seamstress to create a flag in anticipation of declaration of independence. On June 14, 1777, John Adams came up with the idea of Stars & Stripes saying “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.” Since then there have been twenty seven official versions of the American flag including the current one that was created on July 4, 1960 when Hawaii was added as the 50th state.
The American Flag was first saluted by foreign naval vessels on February 14, 1778 but the adoption of the flag was not officially observed until June 14, 1889 when Professor George Bolch held patriotic ceremonies to observe the anniversary of the Flag Day resolution. Soon afterwards the State Department of Education arranged to have the Flag Day observed in all public schools and in 1897, the governor of New York ordered the American flag to be displayed over all public buildings in New York. This is considered by some to be the first official observance of the anniversary of the adoption of the flag. In 1916, President Wilson asked for June 14 to be observed as National Flag Day, followed by another proclamation by President Coolidge in 1927. On May 7, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first state to establish June 14 Flag Day as a legal holiday. Although Flag Day is observed by the whole country, Pennsylvania is the only state to recognize it as a legal holiday. Finally, on August 3, 1949, Congress approved the national observance of Flag Day which was signed into law by President Harry Truman.
Today the American flag can be seen on all public buildings, schools and even in front of homes. Displaying and saluting the flag is a way to celebrate and honor the United States of America. On Sunday, June 14, take a moment to honor the flag and to say thanks for all that the flag represents.
Happy Flag Day!