14 June 2010

Old Glory

Once again, it's time for another history lesson. June 14th is officially Flag Day but you wouldn't know if from the local news sources. I've been scanning the local paper website and a few of the channels, but haven't had much luck. The Philadelphia Inquirer at least has a short blurb on it. I guess I am just an old curmudgeon but this tends to irritate me. I reckon this comes from my years in the Corps at A&M or the stent in the Army or even the past few years as a scout leader, but I tend to remember this day and post my flag outside. To me, it seems like this is one of those forgotten dates, not celebrated with any parades or hoopla or picnics or sales.

Anyway, just to keep everyone informed, a little history about Flag Day:

In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.

Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, though on June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first (and only) U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday, beginning in the town of Rennerdale. Title 36 of the United States Code, Subtitle I, Part A, CHAPTER 1, § 110 is the official statute on Flag Day; however, it is at the President's discretion to proclaim officially the observance.

Since 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14, Americans have commemorated the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by celebrating June 14 as Flag Day. Prior to 1916, many localities and a few states had been celebrating the day for years. Congressional legislation designating that date as the national Flag Day was signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1949; the legislation also called upon the president to issue a flag day proclamation every year.

According to legend, in 1776, George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the new nation. Scholars debate this legend, but agree that Mrs. Ross most likely knew Washington and sewed flags. To date, there have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag, but the arrangement of the stars varied according to the flag-makers' preferences until 1912 when President Taft standardized the then-new flag's forty-eight stars into six rows of eight. The forty-nine-star flag (1959-60), as well as the fifty-star flag, also have standardized star patterns. The current version of the flag dates to July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became the 50th state on August 21, 1959.


terri said...

I think until Hallmark figures out a way to make a buck off of this, Flag Day will remain slightly obscure.

Thanks for the reminder. I wonder if the calendar that hangs on my wall at work even makes note of this day?

meleah rebeccah said...

Happy Flag Day! I love your 'history lessons' :)

Rock Chef said...

Thanks for the little history lesson!

Hope you had a great Flag Day. We need things to celebrate right now!

Maybe it should become a warm up for the big one on 4th July!

Abby said...

I planned to fly the flag, but we weren't home. It's actually marked on my little calendar, but then.. it is a DAV calendar.

Good ol' Betsy, she's awesome.