Our Nation’s Flag by the Numbers

Published 10:00 pm Friday, June 13, 2014

June 14 is “Flag Day” in the United States and an ideal time to reflect on flag-related milestones.
237 years ago this June, (June 14, 1777) – The “Stars and Stripes” our National flag was specified when the Continental Congress needed a new flag to be flown aboard our war ships at sea. We celebrate June 14 as Flag Day.
200 years ago this September – Following a relentless British bombardment of Ft. McHenry in Baltimore Harbor on September 13 and 14, 1814, the poem “In Defense of Fort McHenry” was penned by Francis Scott Key when he saw our Nation’s flag still flying at dawn’s early light. This flag (1795 to 1818) was the only official flag in our history to have more than 13 stripes. It has 15 stars and 15 stripes, and is on display in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. On March 3, 1931, Key’s poem later became the words to our National Anthem “The Star Spangled Banner.”
190 years ago this past March – “Old Glory” a 24-star 17-foot by 10-foot ship’s flag was made and presented to Captain William Driver by his mother in Salem, Massachusetts, on March 17, 1824. When Driver proudly raised his new flag up the main mast of his very own ship he remarked “My ship, my country, and my flag, Old Glory.” This flag quickly became his sailing companion throughout his prominent career. Upon retiring from seafaring in 1837, Captain Driver moved to Nashville, Tennessee with his daughters where he flew his “Old Glory” on every holiday.
153 years ago this June – After Tennessee seceded from the Union on June 8, 1861, Confederate troops in Nashville, made two attempts to seize “Old Glory” from Captain Driver. To insure the flag’s safety, the good Captain had it sewn inside a quilt to prevent it from being captured. After the Union troops captured Nashville from Confederate troops in February 1862, Captain Driver removed “Old Glory” from its hiding place and it was proudly displayed on the statehouse flagstaff. In 1922 “Old Glory” was presented to the Smithsonian Institution by Captain Driver’s family where it resides today.
54 years ago this July – Our current 50-star National flag was authorized by Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 4, 1960 recognizing Hawaii statehood on August 21, 1959. This 50-star flag is the longest flying flag in our nation›s history. New flags become official on July 4 following the admission of a new state.
45 years ago this July – The very first of six U.S. flags was planted on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969.
13 years ago this September – The House of Flags Museum opened its doors in Polk County’s Green Creek community on September 8, 2001 – the only House of Flags Museum in America. On November 11, 2011 the museum held its grand opening at 33 Gibson St. in downtown Columbus N.C. and continues to promote flag respect and patriotism to guests from across the nation, and around the world. Admission is free. And, last but not least…
$3.4 million worth of U.S. flags were shipped to the U.S. from China in 2012, according to the Flag Manufacturers Association of America. Somehow, that doesn›t seem right. (Get your new «Made in the USA» flags from the House of Flags Museum in Columbus: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Our flag – “Old Glory” the “Stars and Stripes” the “Red, White & Blue” the “Grand Old Flag” and “Star Spangled Banner” – is an enduring symbol of the liberties and freedoms upon which our Nation was built. The flag of the United States of America, long may it wave over the land of the free and the home of brave.

– article submitted
by Robert Williamson

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