JUNE 14,

The history
of our stars and stripes


ach year we celebrate the
American flag on June 14.
However, the origins of our flag
remain shrouded in mystery.

Despite the widespread belief that Betsy Ross, a flag maker for
the Pennsylvania Navy during the Revolutionary War, originally
made it, there is no clear evidence that this is true. What we do
know is that on June 14, 1777, the federal government passed the
first Flag Act, which stated that every American flag “be made of
thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
The only problem was that the first Flag Act didn’t specify whether the stripes should be horizontal or vertical, how many
points should be on the stars or where the blue field should be on
the flag. There were a lot of different American flags that fit
these rules at first. As the number of American states grew, the
problem only multiplied. Should we add more stars? More
stripes? It wasn’t until 1912 that President Taft declared that the
flag should be ordered in the rows of stars against a field of blue
on the upper-left-hand side of the thirteen stripes that we know
In 1949, President Harry S. Truman declared June 14 Flag Day
in honor of the passing of the first Flag Act in 1777. Although
we’ve had many versions of the flag, each American still can take
a little time every June to reflect on the values that the flag represents.

According to the United
States Flag Code,
the American flag should
always be “hoisted
briskly” but “lowered

- Oliver Wendell Holmes -


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