Celebration of Our Flag

June 14 is National Flag Day. Although not an official federal holiday, Flag Day still holds a lot of history and significance in the United States. It celebrates the selection of the flag of the United States, which took place 237 years ago. Here are a few facts and stories associated with the national observance.

Flag Resolution of 1777, Second Continental Congress

Cited in a paper read by William J. Canby (Betsy Ross’ grandson) before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1870 is an historical recount of Congress approving of the American flag:

“In Dunlap’s Journal of Congress, at the date of June 14th, 1777 Vol III, page 235, occurs the only scrap of official history in reference to the origin of the flag of the United States yet published. In the proceedings of Congress on this page is found the following resolution: “Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, which in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The Legend of Betsy Ross

Betsy Ross is credited with being the crafter of the first flag of the United States of America, working for General George Washington on the design. While there is no record of this story being true other than her grandson William Canby’s personal testimony of the event, the narrative has become ingrained in American tradition and history. However, historians say it’s possible Betsy Ross could have been the one who suggested five-pointed stars rather than six-pointed stars, demonstrating how to cut them efficiently.

Bernard J. Cigrand, the “Father of the Flag”

Bernard J. Cigrand was a 19-year-old schoolteacher in Wisconsin. An admirer of the U.S. flag, Cigrand decided to start honoring the day officially on June 14, 1885 at the school where he taught, Stony Hill School. Cigrand would speak around the country calling for observance and respect for the flag and is often considered the “Father of the Flag.”

More Flag Day Facts

National Flag Day shares a birthday with the United States Army, which was established June 14, 1775.

June 14, 1877, was the first national observance and 100th anniversary of the flag of the United States.

President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation in 1916 for nationwide observance of Flag Day, but National Flag Day wasn’t established by Congress until 1949 under President Harry Truman.

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