Today is National Flag Day and although this day has been celebrated in America since 1885, many people may not understand what this holiday is all about.
Flag Day commemorates June 14, 1777 when the United States officially approved the design of the national flag.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed June 14 as the official Flag Day and in 1949, U.S. Congress permanently established the date as National Flag Day. Most calendars have this day pre-marked even though it is not a federal holiday.
Here are some facts about the American flag*:
In 1777, the original design had 13 stars and 13 stripes for the 13 colonies. The flag went through many changes over the years and the flag we see today has 50 stars for 50 states and still has 13 stripes.
Our founding fathers chose the colors for the flag. Red symbolizes hardiness and valor; white symbolizes purity and innocence and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
President Dwight Eisenhower chose the current design of the American Flag. It was a high school student who submitted the design in a contest in 1958. His was chosen out of 1,500 submissions.
The current flag is the longest running design of the American Flag. Before that there were many iterations. The reason it hasn’t changed is likely because no states have been added since 1959.
There have been a total of five American flags on the moon. Neil Armstrong was the first in 1969, but there were four other missions that placed American Flags on the moon: Apollo missions 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross was known as the woman who made the first American flag in 1776. Her grandson, William Canby, relayed the story in 1870 since Ross was not credited with creating the first flag in her lifetime. According to Canby, Ross was visited by George Washington, Robert Morris and Colonel George Ross in the early summer of 1776. It was reported that they presented her with a sketch and asked her to create the flag. She suggested some changes to their sketch, like arranging the stars in a circle, and in the following year on June 14, 1777, to be exact, Congress officially adopted the flag. No official documentation has been found to confirm this account.