and The 3 Bears
Salute Flag Day!
A Grand Ol' Flag!
(Music and Lyrics by George M. Cohan)
Feel Free to Sing Along!
You're a grand old flag.
back to the American Revolution, rebels each fought under their own
individual flags (or colonies or local militia). The first real national
flag was referred to as the "Grand Union Flag" and first flown
on New Year's Day in 1776 to celebrate the Continental Army's formation.
It had 13 stripes, of red and white that represented the 13 original
colonies. It also had a square with crosses of St. George and St. Andrew
to represent Great Britain, and with some was a hope that the colonies
could reconcile with England.
In 1959, Alaska and Hawaii were the 49th and 50th states to be added.
The first Flag Day celebration didn't take place until June 14, 1861, almost 100 years after it's original design was adopted. William T. Kerr ( lived in Pittsburg, PA) is recognized as the person who created Flag Day. He began his efforts as a schoolboy and continued through adulthood. He lobbied government and did everything to bring Flag Day to the American public's attention.
President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed June 14 as "Flag Day" in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge issued a similar proclamation in 1927. But, you know how SLOW the government is? It didn't really officially become a holiday until President Harry Truman said so in 1949.
Pennsylvania is the only state that observes "Flag Day" as a legal holiday. All other states acknowledge its importance by displaying the flags on homes, and public places. Businesses and churches are optional. Other ways "Flag Day" is observed is through flag raising ceremonies, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance (written by James B. Upham and Francis Bellamy in 1892), and singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" or other patriotic songs.
Many schools hold programs with the purpose of instilling American pride in the flag and in our country because the flag was so mistreated and disrespected during 1964 to 1975 which was the Viet Nam era when flag-burning was a common expression of resentment to the war.
Some people resent the commercialization of our flag on products. To those who don't and who feel wearing a flag design displays patriotic pride in America, I give a link to the website that sells flag-design items and other government-style items on our Patriotic (main) page towards the center of that page.
It was on June 14, 1777 that the Continental Congress replaced the British symbols of the Grand Union flag with the new design that featured the 13 white stars in a circle on a filed of blue. And, then 13 red and white stripes. This flag is claimed to be made by Philadelphia seamstress, Betsy Ross. But there is no real proof. The stars represented the constellation of the State rising in the West. The blue background stood for the virtues of vigilance, perseverance and justice. The stars were in a circle to represent the the perpetuity of the Union. The 13 stripes stood for the 13 original colonies. The color red symbolized the newly formed country's defiance and daring. The white symbolized purity and liberty.
The American flag is considered a symbol of patriotism and dedication to American ideals. It is one of the oldest national emblems -- even older than Great Britain's Union Jack. The flag's appearance has been changed 26 times throughout history. This was done usually to accommodate adding new states. The Easton Area Public Library has (claims) the very first "Stars and Stripes" predating Betsy Ross' flag and others by a year. They say it was first displayed on July 8, 1776 during a public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Easton. And, that it was made by a group of women from Easton (not one woman!). This flag is 8 feet long and 4 feet wide.
Flag Day is also a time to teach about flag etiquette. The flay should only be allowed to fly after sunrise and taken down before sunset. When it is raised or lowered, it must not touch the ground or the deck of a ship. The flag must be saluted by all that are present. When the flag is placed at half-mast for the dead, it must be hoisted first to the top of the staff, then lowered into place. So the flag goes to the top, then down to half-mast.
When the flag passes by on parade, spectators should stand if they are seated, stop if they are walking and remove hats (if wearing them) giving the flag their full attention. Nothing should ever be placed on the flag or attached to it! And the actual flag should never be used for decoration or advertising purposes.
Source: "Holiday Symbols" 3nd
Edition By Sue Ellen Thompson
OFFICIAL US FLAGS
Below is a listing of all our flags (so far) and the date in which they
became official due to the addition of another state or states.
I've added some additional information that I think is interesting for a few of them.
13 Stars (June 14, 1777)
This flag was
designed by Francis Hopkinson, a lawyer and New Jersey congressman. He
also signed the Declaration of Independence. His 13 stars were
not in a circle, but arranged in a staggered pattern of 3 (first line) then
2 (2nd Line) then 3 (third line) then 2 (fourth line) and then 3 (last
line.) Although Mr. Hopkinson designed it this way, when it came to
actually sewing the flag, well Betsy Ross had her own concept. This is
the flag we more often see with the 13 stars in a circle. There is
another theory that Rebecca Young sewed the first flag, and not Betsy Ross.
Because the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution on June
14, 1777 stating ... "that the flag of the United States be thirteen
stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in
a blue field, representing a new Constellation," this basically legalized
and set our flag design in tact for all other future flags regardless of the
number of stars, the red and white stripes were to be 13 in number.
However, in 1795 they didn't do that. They had 15 stripes.
The 13 original colonies and therefore the first 13 stars are as follows:
(1st) Delaware, December 7th, 1787. (2nd) Pennsylvania, December 12th,1787. (3rd) New Jersey, December 18th, 1787. (4th) Georgia, January 2nd, 1788. (5th) Connecticut, January 9th, 1788. (6th) Massachusetts, February 6th, 1788. (7th) Maryland, April 28th, 1788. (8th) South Carolina, May 23rd, 1788. (9th) New Hampshire, June 21st, 1788. (10th) Virginia, June 25th, 1788. (11th) New York, July 25th, 1788. (12th) North Carolina, November 21st, 1789. (13th) Rhode Island, May 29th, 1790.
15 Stars (May 1, 1795)
This flag not only had
15 stars, it also had 15 stripes. What? What about that Flag
Resolution of 1777? This is also the flag that was popularized in the
Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key. It flew over Fort McHenry during
the War of 1812. It is also referred to as "The Garrison Flag."
This flag was designed and sewn by Mary Pickersgill, along with the help of
her daughter, two nieces and a slave.
The two states added were as follows:
Vermont (the 14th State on March 4th, 1791) and Kentucky (the 15th State on June 1st, 1792).
20 Stars (April 13, 1818)
Adding a new stripe everytime we got a new
state wasn't very practical. If so, our flag would be huge. I mean, 50
stripes long! So, Congress passed the Flag Act of 1818 which stated that the
Flag design return to 13 stripes, but you could increase the stars per
number of states added to the union. In this case, it was 20 states and so
there were 20 stars.
The five states that were added are as follows:
Tennessee (the 16th State on June 1st, 1796), Ohio (the 17th State on March 1st, 1803), Louisiana (the 18th State on April 30th, 1812), Indiana (the 19th State on December 11th, 1816), and Mississippi (the 20th State on December 10, 1817), and was only good for a year
as many of the future flags would be as one state got added annually.
21 Stars (July 4, 1819)
The state that was added was Illinois (December 3rd, 1818).
23 Stars (July 4, 1820)
Two states were added as
Alabama (the 22nd state on December 14th, 1819) and Maine (the 23rd state on March 15, 1820)
24 Stars (July 4, 1822)
The first recorded use
of fringe on a flag dates from 1835. Therefore it must have been the 24 star
The state that was added was Missouri (August 10th, 1821).
25 Stars (July 4, 1836)
The state that was added was Arkansas (June 15th, 1836) .
26 Stars (July 4, 1837)
The state that was added was Michigan (January 26th,1837).
27 Stars (July 4, 1845)
The state that was added was Florida (March 3rd, 1845).
28 Stars (July 4, 1846)
The state that was added was Texas (December 29th, 1845).
29 Stars (July 4, 1847)
The state that was added was Iowa (December 28th, 1846).
30 Stars (July 4, 1848)
The state that was added was Wisconsin (May 29th, 1848).
31 Stars (July 4, 1851)
The state that was added was California (September 9th, 1850).
32 Stars (July 4, 1858)
The state that was added was Minnesota (May 11, 1858).
33 Stars (July 4, 1859)
The state that was added was Oregon (February 14, 1859).
34 Stars (July 4, 1861)
The state that was added was Kansas (January 29th, 1861).
35 Stars (July 4, 1863)
The state that was added was West Virginia (June 20th, 1863) .
36 Stars (July 4, 1865)
The state that was added was Nevada (October 31st, 1864).
37 Stars (July 4, 1867)
The state that was added was Nebraska (March 1st,1867).
38 Stars (July 4, 1877)
The state that was added was Colorado (August 1st 1876).
43 Stars (July 4, 1890)
There were five states that were added as follows:
North Dakota (the 39th State on November 2nd,1889), South Dakota (the 40th State on November 2nd,1889), Montana (the 41st State on November 8th,1889), Washington (the 42nd State on November 11th,1889), and Idaho (the 43rd State on July 3rd, 1890) .
44 Stars (July 4, 1891)
The Army uses a flag with fringe
officially in 1895. So, I'm assuming it's the 44 star flag.
There's no specific law governing fringe on a flag. But,the fringe can't deface the flag in any way.
The state that was added was Wyoming (July 10, 1890).
45 Stars (July 4, 1896)
The state that was added was Utah (January 4th,1896).
46 Stars (July 4, 1908)
The state that was added was Oklahoma (November 16, 1907).
48 Stars (July 4, 1912)
any other prior flag, this one remained for 47 years! It flew during World
War I and II.
Eight presidents served under this flag as well.
The two states that were added are as follows:
New Mexico (January 6th, 1912) and Arizona (February 14, 1912).
49 Stars (January 3, 1959)
The state that was added was Alaska (January 3, 1959).
50 Stars (August 21, 1959)
The state that was added was Hawaii
(July 4, 1960).
After the Flag Resolution of 1777 that actually set down the limit on the number of stripes, I do not think there really was any challenge to the design of our flag and as each state got added, stars got added but the stripes remained. Nothing is said about anyone officially designing the star arrangements of our flags from 20 star flag back in 1818 until the 50 star flag of 1959.
It was President Dwight D. Eisenhower who first established a flag design on January 3,1959 (Executive Order 10798) for the 49 star flag. But, when Hawaii was added a year later, a 50 star flag was then needed. But as early as 1953, the public has a suspicion that soon Alaska and Hawaii would be added as states, thus a new flag design was necessary. A few designs for this flag were submitted to Committe established by President Eisenhower as early as 1953. But, when Alaksa joined the union in 1959, submissions started pouring in for 50 star flag designs. People of all ages sent in their designs. Many more than one. Approximately 3,000 designs were sent in. And, the submissions came in all forms from professional to simple construction paper and crayons.
But, the person whose design was chosen for the 50-star flag was a 17-year old from Saginaw, MI named Robert G. Heft. He did this as a school project. His teacher gave him a B-. However, after he won, his grade was changed to an A!
Just Who Sews All
Those US Flags Today?
Flags for the US Government and military have specific requirements set down by an executive order. But, flags made for the American public have different ratios and requirements.
After September 11, 2001, the demand for US Flags was tremendous and flag manufacturers could not make them fast enough. Ever wonder just where and who makes all the flags you see? Well, Annin & Company is the world's oldest and largest flag manufacturer today. They have a website so I'm not going to keep making this page wordier. Instead, I'll give you a link to another site that I feel explains all about Annin better than they do on their own site. LOL! CLICK HERE
A few years ago, in the Sporty's catalog, there were some photos of some of the flag making production steps that I scanned in. They're as sharp as I could get them. But it will give you an idea of how immense and particular this company is.
Note: I bought one of these
flags and they are terrific.
Each stripe is individually sewn. Each star is embroidered on.
It's made of weather resistant nylon also. I feel it's much brighter,
and more easily seen than the flags that are all printed as one image.
(To repeat. I get no commission. Just telling it as I see it, as usual.)
learn more about the History of the US Flag,
Betsy Ross , The Flag's Timeline
Note: Click the Jump Box at the top of their site for the
various areas of flag information. I linked to the main page only.
To see images of our US flag through the years as the stripes were added, click this link.
The Oklahoma Law
University website has a great collection of all our US gov't
documents through the years from pre-colonial to present. Click this link.