Recognizing Flag Day, June 14, 1777…

Published 9:31 pm Thursday, June 13, 2013

Stars & Stripes, Grand Old Flag, Star-Spangled Banner, Old Glory or the Red-White-and Blue: Whatever you call our Nation’s flag, its birthday is celebrated on June 14 – Flag Day. Why June 14th? It was on June 14, 1777, that the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution, which stated: “Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” This standard with 13 stars and stripes representing the original 13 states became an enduring standard for our nation’s flag.

On May 30, 1916, in response to more than three decades of schools, states, communities and individuals flying the flag and celebrating their own “flag day,” President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day. However, it was not until Aug. 3, 1949, that President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day. From 1912 until July 3 1959, during both of these official actions our nation’s flag displayed 48 stars. Today’s flag has 50 stars, one for each state and 13 alternating red and white stripes.

Our nation’s second flag (1795 to 1818) was the most unusual of all or flags: It had 15 stars and 15 stripes representing our 15 states. This is the “Star Spangled Banner.” Then, in 1817 as Congress was deliberating a new national flag for 20 states they almost went back to the original 13 stars and 13 stripes flag. If it wasn’t for Captain Samuel Chester Reid sharing his design with 13 alternating red and white stripes recognizing our first 13 states and adding stars for each state, our first flag could have become our nation’s new flag.

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Plan on visiting the House of Flags Museum at 33 Gibson Street in Columbus (NC): Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Group tours by appointment. Admission is always free. For more information: Phone 828-894-5640 or the web site: