On June 14th, 1777, the Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag with these words:
Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.
Betsy Ross, pictured above, was long attributed with the task of sewing that first national banner. Historians have recently stepped away from tying her to the creation of that banner, saying only that she was a flag maker, and that she may have known General Washington. But the importance of the adoption of the flag remains the focus of national Flag Day ceremonies.
The holiday status of the day is attributed to two school teachers who designed celebrations for their students around the adoption of the Stars and Stripes. In 1885, BJ Cigrand, planned a program for the students of the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6 to mark this patriotic date as "Flag Birthday." Cigrand maintained his observance of the "Flag Day" during the next few years.
Four years later, kindergarten teacher George Baulch also planned a program for students his New York City school. The New York School system adopted the commemoration. Flag Day observances began occurring at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia and various patriotic groups began holding their own commemorative events.
Though Flag Day was established through an official Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916, the date wasn't set aside as a national holiday until August 3, 1949 when President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th as National Flag Day.
Local areas will be hosting a variety of commemorative events. Baltimore's Fort McHenry, and her Flag House museum, each of which are connected to the beloved Star-Spangled Banner, make spectacular places to enjoy this celebration of the Stars and Stripes. But everyone can participate in the "National Pause for the Pledge." Wherever you are at 7:00 p.m., stop for a moment, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
In honor of Flag Day, I'm giving away a 3x5 foot American flag and a copy of David McCullough's "1776."
Here's how you enter:
1. You must be or become a follower of this blog.
2. Share a personal, patriotic moment in the comment box below.
Thanks! The winner will be drawn June 15th at midnight.