On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress took a break from writing the Articles of Confederation and passed a resolution stating that
“...the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white,” and that “the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
Bernard Cigrand, a small-town Wisconsin teacher, originated the idea for an annual flag day in 1885, to be celebrated across the country every June 14. That year, he led his school in the first formal observance of the holiday.
Over 100 years later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson marked the anniversary of that decree by officially establishing June 14 as Flag Day. As you celebrate the anniversary of the Stars and Stripes, here are some fast facts about “Old Glory.”
There were Two Official "Old Glory" Flags:
|This is the first American flag to be named “Old Glory.” The flag was made in 1824 for Captain William Driver, who flew it on his ship twice around the world and displayed it regularly on patriotic occasions and holidays. Originally bearing twenty-four stars, the worn and tattered flag was remade in 1861 with thirty-four stars, plus a white anchor to signify Driver’s years at sea.
When the Civil War began and Tennessee, where Driver had moved, seceded from the Union, the flag survived, sewn inside a quilt. It was unfurled when Union troops occupied Nashville in 1862. It never flew again, but passed into legend and bequeathed its name to all American flags.
|On July 4, 1912, the US flag grew to 48 stars. This flag was official for 47 years, through two world wars and the emergence of the United States of America as the leading nation of the world. No two incidents better reflect the courage and valor of those who fought and died than the raising of the 48 star flag over Mount Suribachi. This dramatic scene occurred on Iwo Jima in 1945 and is replicated forever as a statue near Washington, DC. This flag also flew on all U.S. warships during the battle of Pearl Harbor.
4 Additional Noteworthy American Flags:
The first (unofficial) national flag of the United States. It was raised in 1776 to celebrate the official status of the newly formed Continental Army by General George Washington, whose camp was then in Cambridge. Also known as the Cambridge Flag or Continental Colors. This flag combined the British Union Jack and the thirteen stripes signifying Colonial unity.
The first official United States flag, adopted by an Act of Congress on June 14, 1777. According to legend, a group headed by George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to execute their design for presentation to Congress.
|Star Spangled Banner
Shortly before the War of 1812, two new states were added to the Union and a flag consisting of 15 stars and 15 stripes was created. The Star Spangled Banner, flying over Fort McHenry during a British naval bombardment, inspired Francis Scott Key to compose what later becomes our National Anthem. This design, born with the Second Flag Act on January 13,1794, is our only official flag ever to have more than thirteen stripes. The restored flag now hangs in the Smithsonian.
|Civil War Flag (34 Stars)
During the Civil War period, the Union forces used four official flags... the 33, 34, 35 and 36 star U.S. flag. The 34 star U.S. flag was one of the flags flown most extensively during this time in our nation's history. From 1861 to 1863, it was the official flag of the United States.
The Congress also requested, by joint resolution approved June 9, 1966, as amended (80 Stat. 194), that the President issue annually a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as “National Flag Week” and calling upon all citizens of the United States to display the flag during that week.
From my personal experience in the US Marine Corps, the raising and lowering of the US Flag is considered a sacred event to honor all American service members past and present. Morning Colors are performed at 8 AM. A Bugler plays “Call to Colors” when out of doors and in uniform Marines come to the Position of Attention and face in the direction of where the flag is known to be and renders a hand salute, that position is held until the bugler finishes. Likewise, at sunset, the same procedure is rendered, again to the sound of the Bugler’s call. If a Marine is not in uniform he is still required to come to attention and face in the direction of the flag without saluting. Additionally, all US military services have their own traditions in respect to honoring our flag.
Resource to learn more about our Flag can be found in the book “Honor Our Flag - flag etiquette book” which can be found online.
So in honor of the rich history of our flag and everything that it represents, fly it proudly all week long. Pay tribute with your Flags Out!
Pledge Of Allegiance
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."