Just the Facts
Five Facts on Flag Day
By Emma Petasis
June 14, 2019 | Blog
Friday, June 14 is flag day! To celebrate, these are the facts.
1. The first “American” flag is not the flag we use today.
The first “American” flag was made up of 13 red and white stripes with a Union Jack in the corner. Because it looked like the British flag, George Washington sought a new flag that would symbolize the new nation. A resolution was passed on June 14, 1777 that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white and that the union will be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
2. A high school student designed the 50-star flag in 1960.
In the 1950s, the 48-star flag needed to be reconfigured to include Alaska, which would soon be admitted to the Union. A 17-year-old high school student, Bob Heft, deconstructed his family flag and stitched on 50 stars proportionally since he expected Hawaii would soon follow Alaska and become part of the Union as well. Upon both states joining the Union, his congressman presented the design to President Eisenhower who soon raised the new 50-star flag.
3. The first celebration of Flag Day was held in 1877.
100 years after the Flag Resolution of 1777, state and local governments observed the first Flag Day. Woodrow Wilson would make the Flag Resolution a nationally observed event in 1916. National Flag Day was ultimately designated as June 14thof every year after an Act of Congress in 1949.
4. The Flag Protection Act of 1968 was created to preserve the American flag.
Created in response to demonstrators burning the American flag in an effort to protest the Vietnam War, the Act made it illegal to burn the American flag. The Act would ultimately be struck down by the Supreme Court, in 1989, which judged that it violated an individual’s First Amendment rights.
5. June 14 is also the U.S. Army’s birthday.
Shared with Flag Day, the U.S. Army was founded on June 14, 1775 when the Continental Congress enlisted army men to serve the then-Colonies for one year. At the time, the U.S. Army was referred to as the Continental Army.