Celebrate June 14 - Flag Day
The Flag of the United States symbolizes many years of hard work, entrepreneurship, foresight, fortitude, sacrifice, strength, tears, joy, pride, and love of Country. Beginning with those first settlers who landed on the shores of this Country, up to the current military personal who are serving to protect this great land, they willingly risked it all to make this Country a better place.
So, when you look at the American Flag, picture those three ships: the Discovery, Godspeed, and the Susan Constant that landed in Jamestown, the Founding Fathers, and all the immigrants who came looking for freedom, and a better way of life. Using their God given talents, these immigrants worked hard, became citizens, and built this Country. Hardships build character and strength, and these difficult times, too, should be remembered when looking at the Flag. Think about the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, Pearl Harbor and World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the horror of 9/11, and the War on Terror. Instead of falling under the pressure of these tribulations, the Nation’s people, represented by this glorious Flag, rallied together and stood tall.
The Evolution of The Flag of the United States
The First United States FlagCredit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Grand_Union_Flag.svg
One of the earliest flags used by the Colonists was the Grand Union Flag, a.k.a., the Continental Colors, the Congress Colors, the Congress Flag, the First Navy Ensign, and the Cambridge Flag. This Flag was designed and made using the thirteen red and white stripes that we use today, but in the upper left corner, the British Union Flag was inserted. Its use has been documented as early as December 3, 1775. However, as the conflict with Great Britain grew, and the new government was being created, it was recognized that a new Flag was also needed.
Flag Act of 1777Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_flag_13_stars.svg
The Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, passed The Flag Act of 1777, on June 14, 1777.
"Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
The thirteen stripes and stars represented the thirteen original Colonies. These same Colonies became the first states of the United States:
Delaware (1st State, December 7, 1787)
Pennsylvania (2nd State, December 12, 1787)
New Jersey (3rd State, December 18, 1787)
Georgia (4th State, January 2, 1788)
Connecticut (5th State, January 9, 1788)
Massachusetts (6th State, February 6, 1788)
Maryland (7th State, April 28, 1788)
South Carolina (8th State, May 23, 1788)
New Hampshire (9th State, June 21, 1788)
Virginia (10th State, June 25, 1788)
New York (11th State, July 26, 1788)
North Carolina (12th State, November 21, 1789)
Rhode Island (13th State, May 29, 1790).
Since the description of the Flag was not completely detailed, several different Flags were designed. All of them included the 13 red and white stripes, but different Flag makers presented the blue field differently. These Flags were used until 1795. This Flag is also known as the13-Star Flag.
We have all heard the story of how Betsy Ross made the first U. S. Flag. However, there is no documentation to prove this legend.
Flag Act 1794Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_flag_15_stars.svg
On January 13, 1794, President George Washington signed the Flag Act that would change the 13-Star and 13-Stripe Flag to a 15-Star and 15-Stripe Flag, to take affect on May 1, 1795. The change in design was done to include Vermont (14th State, March 4, 1791) and Kentucky (15th State, June 1, 1792), who had both joined the Union. This design would be used until April 4, 1818, marking nearly twenty-three years of service and is referred to as the 15-Star Flag.
Another name is the Star Spangled Banner Flag:
“The Star Spangled Banner Flag is the name for the American flag with 15 stars and stripes. It got the name because this is the flag that was flying at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 that Francis Scott Key saw when he wrote the poem "Defense of Fort McHenry." He put it to the music of a familiar tune and it later became known as the "Star Spangled Banner," America's National Anthem. The original Star Spangled Banner Flag that flew over Fort McHenry still exists and can be viewed at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.”
Unlike the first United States Flag, there is documentation proving Mary Young Pickersgill made the actual Star Spangled Banner Flag that flew over Fort McHenry.
Flag Act of 1818Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_flag_20_stars.svg
On April 4, 1818, President Monroe signed another Flag Act, re-establishing the 13-Stripe Flag with one star in the blue field for each State in the Union. As new States joined the Union, a star would be added to the field on the 4th of July after their admission. With these changes, four states were added:
Tennessee (16th State, June 1, 1796)
Ohio (17th State, March 1, 1803)
Louisiana (18th State, April 30, 1812)
Indiana (19th State, December 11, 1816)
Mississippi (20th State, December 10, 1817)
All these States had stars added to the blue field. This Flag became known as the 20-Star Flag.
As the Country Grew, So Did the Number of Stars on The Flag of the United States
The following list includes the evolution of the Flag as States joined the Union. All of these changes became effective on July 4, after their admission as a State.
Flag Revisions by State Admission
21-Star Illinois (21st State, December 3, 1818)
23-Star Alabama (22nd State, December 14,1819)
Maine (23rd State, March 15, 1820)
24-Star Missouri (24th State, August 10, 1821)
25-Star Arkansas (25th State, June 15, 1836)
26-Star Michigan (26th State, January 26, 1837)
27-Star Florida (27th State, March 3, 1845)
28-Star Texas (28th State, December 29, 1845)
29-Star Iowa (29th State, December 28, 1846)
30-Star Wisconsin (30th State, May 29, 1848)
31-Star California (31st State, September 9, 1850)
32-Star Minnesota (32nd State, May 11, 1858)
33-Star Oregon (33rd State, February 14, 1859)
34-Star Kansas (34th State, January 29, 1861)
35-Star West Virginia (35th State, June 20, 1863)
36-Star Nevada (36th State, October 31, 1864)
37-Star Nebraska (37th State, March 1, 1867)
38-Star Colorado (38th State, August 1, 1876)
43-Star North Dakota (39th State, November 2, 1889)
South Dakota (40th State, November 2, 1889)
Montana (41st State, November 8, 1889)
Washington (42nd State, November 11, 1889)
Idaho (43rd State, July 3, 1890)
44-Star Wyoming (44th State, July 10, 1890)
45-Star Utah (45th State, January 4, 1896)
46-Star Oklahoma (46th State, November 16, 1907)
48-Star New Mexico (47th State, January 6, 1912)
Arizona (48th State, February 14, 1912)
“Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912 - established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.”
“Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.”
49-Star Alaska (49th State, January 3, 1959)
“Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.”
50-Star Hawaii (50th State, August 21, 1959)
Don’t forget to circle June 14th – Flag Day – on your your calendar, so you and your family can join in the celebration. This “Grand Old Flag” goes by many names: American Stars and Stripes, Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, Stars and Bars, Red White and Blue, Star Spangled Banner Flag, or the American Flag. After exploring the history of the Flag of the United States, I hope you will be inspired to purchase a Flag pole and a Flag to display at your home. This is a good family project, and a great way to talk about the freedom we enjoy in the U. S. A., how it was won, and how it is protected today. And the next time you see one of our valiant veterans, or a current member of our military, walk up to him or her, and say 'thank you'!
Let's all stand to face the Flag, place our right hand over our heart, and say The Pledge of Allegiance together. (Don't forget to remove your hat, if you are wearing one.)
“I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”