14 June every year is Flag Day in the United States. It commemorates the date in 1777 when the United States approved the design for its first national flag, a version of the familiar red, white and blue “Stars and Stripes” that survives today.
On June 14, 1777, future President John Adams discussed the flag at a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. He said, "Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation."
A tenacious legend says that Betsy Ross, a seamstress in Philadelphia, was commissioned by George Washington, then leader of the independence forces, to make the first flag, and influenced its design with five-pointed stars in a circle in the top left-hand quarter.
The legend is based on a talk given by her grandson, William Canby, to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1870. Modern historians credit the flag’s design to Francis Hopkinson, who also designed the Great Seal and first coin of the United States. But the legend is so widespread it has become one of the founding myths of the U.S.A.
What is definitely true is that the original flag had 13 stripes and 13 stars, representing the states at the time. As more states joined, the number of stripes stayed constant but a new star was added for each state. There have been 27 versions in all. The current version dates to July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state.
President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day in 1916. It is not an official federal holiday, it’s a commemoration, although Pennsylvania celebrates the day as a state holiday. Towns and many individual Americans display the Stars and Stripes prominently to mark the day. It is also often the occasion for naturalization ceremonies for people taking American nationality, along with 4 July and Memorial Day.
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Tag(s) : "Betsy Ross" "celebrations" "Declaration of Independence" "Flag Day" "George Washington" "Give Me Five 4e" "Independence Day" "July 4" "Philadelphia" "Stars and Stripes" "U.S. history" "U.S. traditions"