Stars And Stripes: The Only Flag That Matters On National Flag Day
Today, June 14th, is National Flag Day.
And while it's not a national holiday, it does provide Americans with the opportunity to show how they feel about their home country.
Flag Day is a celebration that honors and commemorates the stars and stripes on the American Flag. While you might not have a day off from work, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 to honor the day in 1777 when the flag was officially recognized by the United States.
Oh, and the design of the American flag, with 13 red and white stripes and white stars on a field of blue, is generally attributed to Francis Hopkinson (not Betsy Ross), although the flag's true designer may never be known for sure.
Ross has been credited for creating and sewing the first flag. That's a complicated story that can be read here.
The American Flag still stands for freedom, and the website carrot-top.com gives some other interesting facts on this day:
1. There Have Been 27 Different Flags
That’s right! The US flag has seen 27 different versions so far, and that’s if we’re not counting the versions that existed before the official flag design was adopted.
Basically, the number of stars changed with each new state that joined. Why is it then that the flag doesn’t have 33 different versions since the original flag had 13 stars? There are two answers to this. First, sometimes two states joined at the same time. Secondly, it would take a year or more to record the change, for the new flag to be proposed to Congress and later approved. Here are a few examples of the older flag versions: 45 Stars US Flag and 32 Stars US Flag.
2. Nobody Knows the Real Flag Designer
Perhaps some would disagree and immediately say “Betsy Ross” or “It was Francis Hopkinson!”. Naturally, both advocates have stories to support their arguments.
The first group argues that Betsy Ross, a Philadelphian seamstress, and upholstery, received an order from General Washington and a committee from the Continental Congress to create the flag based on the sketches they provided. Apparently, it is Betsy Ross we have to thank for that the current flag has not six- but five-pointed stars. Is there another piece of evidence besides The History of the Flag of the United States paper written by her grandson? Not really.
On the other hand, Francis Hopkinson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, did have an artistic side. Not only did he write poetry, but he also designed the Great Seal of the United States. As for the flag, the legend has it Hopkinson made the first design sketches while he was on the Navy Board. As it seems, he decided to put the red stripes because they were clearly visible from a distance when flown on ships.
Be that as it may, the very first Stars and Stripes are often referred to as the “Betsy Ross flag”.
3. The US Flag Was the First Flag on the Moon
Some of us remember that glorious moment when Neil Armstrong put the US flag into the Moon’s soil. Quite an achievement! The very first flag on the moon was the Old Glory. However, it is not the only US flag there. Afterward, there were five Apollo missions, and in each of them, an astronaut placed the flag on the moon’s surface.
So, that would be six flags on the moon’s surface, right? Wrong! The first flag that touched the moon’s soil was destroyed by exhaust fumes when the Apollo 11 mission was returning home. However, the rest are still standing.
By the way, China was the second country to place its flag on the moon.
4. The US Flag Can Get Retired
Have you ever wondered what happens with flags that are no longer in good shape to be displayed or flown? They get retired, just like people! Once the stars and stripes start showing signs of wear and tear, it’s time for the flag to be replaced with the new one. This calls for special ceremonies. You can decide to send it to the service in charge by simply shipping the flag, or you can hand it to one of the institutions in your area that are in charge of flag disposal, or perhaps you can get your new American flag from Carrot Top and get the stars & stripes swap program.
5. The US Flag Can Fly Day and Night
In case you were having second thoughts about having a flagpole installed in front of your home because you’re not an early bird and it would look weird to hoist the flag at noon only to lower it a few hours later, we have some excellent news! You can hoist the flag up and leave it like that until there is a storm coming or some other reason appears to take it down.
What’s the catch? The US flag can fly 24hs provided the flagpole, flag, is lit well enough at night.
Oh, and the United States Army also celebrates the U.S. Army birthday on this date; Congress adopted "the American continental army" on June 14, 1775.
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