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Someone once said that history defines who we are and the way we are. However, many historical events are forgotten, because their significance is not shared with the younger generation. To address this, national days are celebrated. They commemorate the establishment of an important event and raise awareness about its significance, symbolism, and history. One of these national days is the US National Flag Day. It is celebrated on the 14th of June every year to mark the adoption of the United States flag by the Second Continental Congress. But, there’s more to this event than this. Read on to know!
When Is National Flag Day Celebrated?
The US National Flag Day is celebrated on the 14th of June every year to celebrate the adoption of the American Flag on the same date in the year 1777.
The First American Flag
The first American Flag had thirteen stripes (alternating red and white), and thirteen five-pointed stars in a field of blue. The stars were arranged in a circle, and they represented the thirteen colonies that fought in the American Revolutionary War.
History Of the American Flag
The flag, which is believed to be the first American flag, was supposedly made by an upholsterer from Philadelphia named Betsy Ross. Although her descendants claim that she did contribute to the design of the flag, several experts refuse to believe so. In 1870, however, William J. Canby, Betty Ross’ grandson, presented a paper to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania claiming that his grandmother had made the first flag with her own hands.
The paper had information about Betty Ross taking the job in June 1776, post a discussion with a small committee, that included prominent members such as George Washington and Robert Morris, the founding fathers of the United States. Data suggests that George Washington did make a journey to Philadelphia, and the Flag Act was passed a year later. It’s also claimed that Betty Ross deviated from the original design and opted to add five-point stars, instead of six-point stars.
Having said that, William Canby’s story lacks historical evidence and documentation. His account of Betsy Ross never claimed any contribution to the flag design, except for her deviation to make the stars five-pointed.
There is one more version of the story, published by Col. J. Franklin Reigart in 1878. It states that Dr Benjamin Franklin met Betsy Ross along with George Ross and Robert Morris, to request her to design the first flag. William Canby’s version and the subsequent book published in 1909 has the Ross family affidavits, but the book never specified the arrangement of stars on the flag. Col. Reigart, however, describes Betsy Ross’s flag with an eagle in the canton with thirteen stars surrounding its head.
What Do the Colours Red, White, and Blue Represent in the American Flag?
The colour red in the American flag represents hardiness and valour, white represents purity and innocence, and blue represents justice, perseverance, and vigilance.
How Is Flag Day Celebrated?
The National Flag Day, although not a federal holiday, is celebrated with the ceremonial raising of the American Flag and a parade. Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the national anthem are important aspects of the celebration. Americans also display the American Flag on their houses and offices as a mark of respect.
The home of legendary Betsy Ross (also known as Betsy Ross House) also hosts events spanning all week. The house has long been the site of observance of the US National Flag Day in Philadelphia.
Facts About Flag Day for Kids
These facts will help you remember the significance of Flag Day. Share them with your little ones to develop a sense of patriotism in them.
- The US national flag with stars and stripes was recognised by Congress on 14th June 1777.
- The first US national flag had 13 alternating red and white stripes and 13 stars arranged in a circle in a field of blue.
- The red colour in the flag represents valour, white represents purity and innocence, and blue represents perseverance, justice, and vigilance.
- These colours have official names, too – Old Glory Red, White, and Old Glory Blue.
- The American flag is also known as “Old Glory”, “Stars and Stripes”, and “the Star-Spangled Banner”.
- Flag Day was established officially by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
- The first state to recognise Flag Day as a state holiday in Pennsylvania. New York statutes also designated the second Sunday of June as a state holiday.
Woodrow Wilson once quoted, “The things that the flag stands for were created by the experiences of a great people. Everything that it stands for was written by their lives.” The day, thus, is not just observed to commemorate the adoption of the US flag; it also symbolises the achievements, struggles, and dedication of the courageous people who fought for its independence and made history.