It’s Flag Day 2017 in the USA!

American Flag waving over Rockefeller Center, NY

American Flag waving over Rockefeller Center, NY

240 years ago, on June 14, 1777, the flag of the United States was adopted by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The Flag Resolution stated: “Resolved, 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.”

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American Flag waving over Fifth Avenue, NY

American Flag waving over Fifth Avenue, NY

Many Americans cherish the, often refuted, story of Betsy Ross being the designer of the first Stars and Stripes. As General George Washington’s seamstress and fellow-church congregant, legend says that Betsy Ross was commissioned around June of 1776 to create the flag from a drawing, which she subsequently re-designed and produced successfully. Some historians discredit this tale based on lack of evidence but either way the story is a great one.

Over 100 years later, Bernard John Cigrand, a young man from Waubeka, Wisconsin, authored hundreds of articles, made speeches and submitted proposals for there to be an annual observance of the birth of the Flag. He felt strongly that good would come from a “Flag Holiday”. Then, in 1949, President Truman signed an Act Of Congress designating the 14th day of June every year as National Flag Day. 55 years later, on June 14, 2004, a unanimous vote by U.S. Congress declared that Flag Day originated in Waubeka, Wisconsin recognizing Cigrand’s dedication to the cause.

Since 1777, the design of the flag has been officially modified 26 times. The 48-star flag was in effect for 47 years until the 49-star version became official on the 4th of July 1959.

American Flags painted on trees in Battery Park to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks.

American Flags painted on trees in Battery Park to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks.

IMG_6149The American Flag, which is also known as the “Stars and Stripes”, “Old Glory” and “The Star Spangled Banner” with 50stars to represent the 50 states of the United States of America was ordered by President Eisenhower on August 21,1959. The blue rectangle in the canton (specifically called the “union”) bears 50 small, white, 5-pointed stars arranged in 9 offset horizontal rows of 6 stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of 5 stars.

The current 50-star American flag was designed in Ohio in 1958 by a then 17-year-old, Robert Heft, who created it for a high school class project. Apparently he received a B- on his assignment, which was subsequently raised to an A after his design was chosen and adopted by presidential proclamation.

Isn’t it fantastic that young adults have played integral (sometimes unrecognized) roles in US history?

“Flag of Honor” listing the name of each human who perished on September 11, 2001 displayed in Battery Park during the 10-year memorial.

“Flag of Honor” listing the name of each human who perished on September 11, 2001 displayed in Battery Park during the 10-year memorial.

Happy Birthday to the American Flag!

Photos are my own.

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