Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flag History

Flag Day recognizes the June day in 1777 when the Continental Congress adopted the "Stars and Stripes" as the official flag of the United States.

It is always celebrated on June 14th.

In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem, "Defense of Fort McHenry," when he saw the flag still flying the morning after an attack by the British. Today, that poem is known by another name: "The Star-Spangled Banner."

  • The Flag Act of 1818 states that a star be added for any new state on the Fourth of July following that state's admission.
  • Flag Day was observed for the first time in 1877, the 100th anniversary of the adoption of our country's red-white-and-blue banner.
  • Students first said the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892, the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas.
  • In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day as an annual national celebration.
  • Congress officially recognized Flag Day by passing the National Flag Day Bill in 1949, during President Harry Truman's administration.
  • In 1983, the world's largest flag was displayed in Washington, D.C. The flag, which measured 411 feet by 210 feet, weighed 7 tons! Each star measured 13 feet across!
  • The name “Old Glory” was given to a large, 10-by-17-foot flag. flag owned by William Driver, a sea captain from Massachusetts. Driver’s flag is said to have survived attempts to deface it during the Civil War. Driver was able to fly the flag over the Tennessee state house once the war ended. The flag was last displayed in an exhibit in 2006.
  • Between 1777 and 1960, Congress passed several acts that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag and allowed stars and stripes to be added to reflect the admission of each new state.
  • Today the flag consists of 13 horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with six white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well, red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
  • The National Museum of American History has undertaken a long-term conservation project of the enormous 1814 garrison flag that survived the 25-hour shelling of Ft. McHenry in Baltimore by British troops and inspired Francis Scott Key to compose "The Star-Spangled Banner." The flag had become soiled and weakened over time and was removed from the museum in December 1998. Conservation efforts began in June 1999, starting with the removal of the linen support backing that was sewn into place in 1914 using 1.7 million stitches. Painstaking steps must be taken to preserve the flag, including pH readings to measure the levels of acid or base in the fabric, color readings to analyze dyes in the fabric and fiber analysis through microscopic examination. A thorough vacuuming of all surfaces and large-format photographing of every section of the flag to benchmark its condition must also occur before conservation measures are undertaken.
  • The U.S. flag is flown 24 hours a day by either Presidential proclamation or law at the following places:
  • Fort McHenry, National Monument and Historic Shrine, Baltimore, Maryland
    • Flag House Square, Baltimore, Maryland
    • United States Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima), Arlington, Virginia
    • On the Green of the Town of Lexington, Massachusetts
    • The White House, Washington, D.C.
    • United States Customs Ports of Entry
    • Grounds of the National Memorial Arch in Valley Forge State Park, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

  • No one knows for sure who designed the U.S. flag or who created the first one. Today, most experts agree that Francis Hopkinson, a delegate to the Continental Congress from New Jersey, designed the flag. But, in 1870, William J. Canby claimed that his grandmother, a seamstress from Philadelphia named Betsy Ross, made the first U.S. flag.


    Do you fly the flag at your home?
    Kirk usually puts mine up, but he is out of it is not flying today.....not a good excuse I know.

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