Today, June, 14, is a day commonly known to our country as Flag Day. Flag Day is an official holiday commemorating the day our country resolved on an official flag. Two hundred thirty-five years ago the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress passed a flag resolution act, stating, "Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternating red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." This was the first time the United States had an official flag. Before this many different flags were used, but the Grand Union flag was the most common.
The Grand Union Flag
It is not known exactly who designed the American flag. The legend is that Betsy Ross, a Philadelphian seamstress, made the first flag. There is very little evidence to support this legend though. The most likely person to have designed the flag was Fransis Hopkinson. Fransis Hopkinson was a congressman and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He probably designed the flag sometime between November 1776 and June 1777.
The first flag commonly called the Betsy Ross flag
In 1795, two more stars and stripes were added to the original flag. But as more states joined the Union, no more were added to prevent "clutter". In 1818, naval captain, Samuel Reid, proposed that the stripes be reduced to thirteen in order to honor the first colonies but that a star be added for each new state. His plan was adopted, and now our flag has 13 stripes and a star for each state. The stars have undergone many different arrangements due to changing numbers. Some of the designs are quite interesting. The fifty star arrangement that we know is the longest standing arrangement. It has been the flag for 52 years.
The flag we are used to with fifty states
Since the American flag represents our nation, it should be treated with respect. There is a whole code for how the flag is to be treated. Here are some examples from that code:
- The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing.
- When in storage the flag should never be crumpled. Instead it should be folded neatly.
- The flag should never be displayed during rain or violent weather.
- If the flag is displayed at night, it should be illuminated.