American_Flag

Today, the country is draped in hues of red, white, and blue to commemorate June 14, 1916, the adoption of the flag of the United States. This day falls within National Flag Week, a time when millions of Americans wave their own U.S. flags over the land of the free and the home of the brave in remembrance and celebration of the hope it inspires in us all. For many, it won’t take long to find a flag to fly (if there isn’t one or two up already). Whether it be a miniature version for accessorizing pots and gardens, a print on apparel and swimwear, or a full-blow flag up on a pole—chances are that you’ve invested in some stripes and stars. But how much do you really know about Flag Day or the flag itself? We’ve prepared 8 fun facts for you to share or keep in mind as you’re hanging flags or noticing them on Federal Government buildings and around town this week:

  1. Flag Day is NOT a Federal Holiday

In the spirit of the freedom that is engraved into this nation’s foundation, when Flag Day was created it was not established as an official federal holiday. Since the first Flag Day in 1916, it has been at the President's discretion to officially proclaim the observance of Flag Day each year. This year’s Flag Day has been proclaimed by President, Barack Obama, check out his proclamation here.

  1. Remember to say Happy Birthday to the United States Army

On the same day as Flag Day, June 14, the United States Army celebrates its 241st birthday! Congress adopted "the American continental army" after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775.

  1. There are Proper Ways to Display the Flag

In order to respect the flag, the guidelines, according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, instruct the owner of the flag NOT to:

  • Let the flag touch the ground.
  • Fly the flag upside down (unless there is an emergency).

  • Carry the flag flat or carry things in it.

  • Use the flag as clothing.

  • Store the flag where it can get dirty.

  • Use it as a cover.

  • Fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.

  • Draw on or otherwise mark the flag.

The VFW also advises that if you fly your flag on the same staff as others, that the U.S. flag be at peak, above any other flag. If it is grouped with flags that each have their own staff, the U.S. flag goes to its own right and flags of other nations should be flown at the same height. U.S. flags are flown at half-staff on special days that are usually in honor of a group of people.

  1. There are Proper Ways to Dispose of the Flag

If you’re noticing that your flag has seen better days, it’s okay to dispose of it! Seeing those broad stripes and bright stars in vibrant colors is what we expect of our flag. But when disposing of a flag, it’s important to make sure the deed is done with respect to this national emblem. According to Veterans of Foreign Wars, follow these steps to properly dispose of your flag:

  • Fold the flag in its customary manner.

  • Ensure that the flag will be completely burned.

  • Place the flag on the fire.

  • As the flag burns, you may come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance or have a brief period of silent reflection if you like.

  • After the flag is completely gone, safely extinguish the fire and bury the ashes.

  • Check local/state fire codes or ordinances to make sure to comply with them.

  1. Many Founded Flag Day

The idea to set aside a day to honor the national flag came from several sources throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth century. The huge push for this celebration from all across the nation finally culminated on June 14, 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established on June 14 as Flag Day.

  1. The Flag’s Mysterious Birth

It isn’t clear who, exactly, designed the first version of the American flag. Many sources believe Congressman Francis Hopkinson seems like the most likely candidate. However, rumors that seamstress Betsy Ross from Philadelphia was responsible have become a legend in U.S. history.

Regardless, on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act to establish the first official flag for the then new nation. Our current 50-star flag was born on July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became a state on January 3rd, 1959.

  1. The Colors of the Flag Hold Meaning

 “We take the stars from Heaven, the red from out mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty.” said George Washington of the design.

  1. One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind

There are 6 American flags on the moon. They were planted by crews from Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17.

Share these fun facts with others as we stand together of all backgrounds and beliefs to pay tribute to this banner of hope and celebrate the great story of progress that it represents! Wishing you all a happy Flag Day and wonderful National Flag Week from Renewal by Andersen.

 

SOURCES

2)Wright, Jr., Robert K. (1983). THE CONTINENTAL ARMY. WASHINGTON, D. C.: CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY, UNITED STATES ARMY. LCCN 82016472. "June 14th: The Birthday of the U.S. Army". US Army History. U.S. ARMY CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY. Retrieved 14 June 2016.

6) http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/modern/jb_modern_birth_1.html

7) http://www.usflag.org/history/flagevolution.html; http://www.usflag.org/history/the50starflag.html

8) http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/flag.pdf

9) https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/ApolloFlags-Condition.html