Flag Day Fun Facts

In the United States, Flag Day falls on June 14th every year. Despite not being a federal holiday, the day is great for celebrating and learning about U.S. history, especially in preparation of July 4th. Exercise your brain muscles a bit and check out these 14 Flag Day fun facts:

1. The U.S. flag, in its first form, was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on June 14th, 1777. John Adams, second President of the U.S., described its “thirteen stripes, alternate red and white” and “thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

2. U.S. Congressman Francis Hopkinson, who also signed the Declaration of Independence, is said to have created the first flag. Betsy Ross followed his pattern to sew the first version.

3. The flag was first flown on August 3, 1777, from Fort Stanwix in what became Rome, New York.

4. An 1818 Congressional legislation locked the number of stripes to 13 (to represent the thirteen original colonies) and decreed that the number of stars should equal the number of states in the Union.

5. In 1831, the flag was first nicknamed “Old Glory” by William Driver of the brig Charles Doggett, a sea captain from Salem, Massachusetts. “Stars and Stripes” is another common nickname.

6. Bernard J. Cigrand is considered as having an important hand in Flag Day. In 1885, as a high school teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin, he had students write essays about the U.S. flag, and from then on, advocated to establish the holiday.

7. In 1912, the design of the flag was made official. It changed a total of 27 times, the last of which occurred on July 4th, 1960, to accommodate Hawaii. Robert G. Heft is credited as creator of the current design.  

8. President Woodrow Wilson declared Flag Day official in 1916.

9. The first state to make Flag Day an official state holiday was Pennsylvania in 1937, and is currently the only state that observes it as such.  

10. It wasn’t until 1949 that National Flag Day was passed by Congress.

11. Six American flags, planted by Apollo crews 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, can be found on the moon.

12. Throughout the U.S., festivals and parades are held to honor the American flag. The annual celebration in Fairfield, Washington has the oldest continuous parade in the U.S. Its first parade transpired in 1909 and has continued each year since except for 1918.

13. Flag Day coincides with the birthday of the U.S. Army, which happened on the same date in 1775.

14. The colors red, white, and blue symbolize valor, purity, and justice, respectively.

Check out your community calendar to see if a festival or parade will be held near you. If you own a flag, you might also consider flying it the week of June 14th, which is National Flag Week. If you live near Waubeka, Wisconsin, consider attending festivities put on by the National Flag Day Foundation.

Happy Flag Day!

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