In 1877, the Second Continental Congress adopted a design for a flag to represent this new country of freedom. Thirteen red and white stripes, and a “union” of 13 white stars on a blue field as in a new constellation. Did they have any idea how many stars would be on this flag today? Probably not. Actually it’s not clear. Some say 50. President Obama suggested 57, but why not? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpGH02DtIws/) I love this country and the freedom of speech! And forgiveness/amnesia
Our flag with 48 stars flew from 1912-1959, and recently the flag with 50 stars became the longest to fly. Fifty-four years and counting!!!
Flag Day is June 14 (a federal holiday only in Pennsylvania??) initiated in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson (www.ibtimes.com/flag-day-2015) :
“Let us on that day rededicate ourselves to the nation,” he wrote, ” ‘one and inseparable’ from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers’ first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts, for an America which no man can corrupt, no influence draw away from its ideals, no force divide against itself — a nation signally distinguished among all the nations of mankind for its clear, individual conception alike of its duties and its privileges, its obligations and its rights.”
Here are other facts about Flag Day:
- Bernard J. Cigrand is considered the father of Flag Day. In 1885, as a young teacher at a high school in Waubeka, Wisconsin, Cigrand put a small flag on his desk and told his students to write essays about it. He fought for the rest of his life to formally establish the holiday, according to the National Flag Day Foundation.
- The flag has been changed 27 times. The final star, for Hawaii, was added in 1960.
- The first time the flag was flown after being adopted was on Aug. 3, 1777 in Rome, New York.
- The flag’s colors have become significant over time. The white is for purity, the red is for valor and the blue is for justice, according to usflag.org.
- President George Washington described the design like this: “We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty.”
- The first flag was probably created by Francis Hopkinson, who signed the Declaration of Independence. He requested “a quarter cask of the public wine” as payment for his design. He was rejected.
- Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag according to a pattern, which was likely Hopkinson’s. Legend has it she changed the six-point stars he’d drawn to five-point ones because they were easier to stitch.
- Sea captain William Driver gave the flag its “Old Glory” nickname in 1831, according to usacitylink.com.
- The current design of the U.S. flag was created by Robert G. Heft, who made the pattern for a high school project. He earned a B- at first, but when the government chose it, his teacher raised the grade to an A.
- There are six American flags on the moon. Five are standing, but Neil Armstrong’s fell over.
This year Flag Day coincides with the 240th birthday of the U.S. Army. For more than sixty years the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard which was designated in 1948 to be the Army’s official ceremonial unit) has honored America’s fallen heroes by placing American flags at gravesites for service members buried at Arlington and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.
Within four hours the soldiers place flags in front of more than 228,000 headstones and at the bottom of 7,000 niche rows. (Flags In http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil)
They have to hold the record for the most efficient government agency.
Copyright 2015 Georgia Wilson