Flag Day: History and fun facts

- Each year on June 14, we celebrate Flag Day.  Flag Day was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 but not declared an official holiday until 1949.  Here are some more Flag Day-inspired facts about our red, white and blue banner:

- The first American flag was created out of the Second Continental Congress’ resolution the Flag Act of 1777.

- The origins of the first American flag are unknown, but many historians believe New Jersey Congressman Francis Hopkinson designed it and seamstress Betsy Ross sewed it.

- Only Pennsylvania, the state where the first American flag was sewn, recognizes Flag Day as a legal state holiday.

- The American flag’s nickname “Old Glory” came from William Driver, a sea captain from Massachusetts who gave the nickname to his 10-by-17 ft. flag.  Driver’s flag, which can be seen at the National Museum of American History, is said to have survived several attempts to deface it during the Civil War.

- On Sept. 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key saw the American flag fly over Fort McHenry after the United States defeated the British in the Battle of Baltimore.  He then wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which became the national anthem in 1931.

- On Aug. 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman declared June 14 as National Flag Day.

- In July 1969, Neil Armstrong placed the American flag on the moon, the first flag flown in space.

- Today, the flag has 13 horizontal strips, alternating red and white, to represent the 13 original colonies, as well as 50 white stars over a blue patch, one for each state.  The original flag only had 13 stars.

- The American flag is usually displayed from sunrise to sunset and taken down in inclement weather.

- The Washington Nationals will hand out patriotic tank tops to the first 15,000 fans 21+ years at tonight’s home game against the Atlanta Braves (4:05 p.m.).

Sources: Encyclopedia Smithsonian, History.com Lists

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