Honor the “Stars and Stripes” June 14

National Flag Day

by Janet Foster

National Flag Day, observed on June 14 every year, is a day set aside to honor the Stars and Stripes. Historians and legends claimthat the history behind National Flag Day dates back to 1776, when George Washington, in anticipation of America gaining its freedom from British rule, commissioned seamstress Betsy Ross to create a national flag.

During this time, the Second Continental Congress was in the throes of drafting the Articles of Confederation. According to “America’s Story” from the Library of Congress (www.americaslibrary.gov), “On June 14, 1777, John Adams spoke about the flag at a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. He said, ‘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.’ There have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag so far; stars have been added to it as states have entered the Union. The current version dates to July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state.”

The History Channel (www.history.com) claims that “it was almost unheard of for individuals to fly the U.S. flag until the Civil War broke out in 1861, at which time the Stars and Stripes suddenly became a popular symbol in the North.”

Respect for the Stars and Stripes grew after the end of the Civil War. According to www.usflag.org, “after three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day (the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777), was officially established by a proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation, it was not until August 3, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.”

National Flag Day represents the centuries of respect, celebration and unity surrounding the Stars and Stripes, the official flag of the United States of America.

Janet Foster is an administrative assistant in the Santa Fe College math department.