Flag Day commemorates the United States adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the American flag on June 14, 1777. For a period of time, the United States added both stars and stripes to the flag when welcoming new states into the union. In fact, when Kentucky and Vermont joined the union two stars were added to the flag and it was this version of the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner”. As the country grew, the US decided to add only stars and leave the stripes signifying the original 13 colonies.
“The colors of the flag are important: red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.” – Charles Thomson, the Secretary of Congress, 1782
The modern flag that we see today was, in fact, not put together by a government committee. After Alaska and Hawaii were adopted as states, Robert G. Heft a 17-year old high school student from Lancaster, Ohio, designed the iconic 50-star flag as a class project. His teacher thought it lacked originality, and therefore gave him a B-minus for the sewing project, but later reconsidered when the design was accepted by U.S. Congress. Lancaster’s design beat out 1,500 total entries.
In July 1969, Neil Armstrong placed the first American flag on the moon as a part of the Apollo 11 mission, the first manned moon-landing. Five more American flags would be placed on the lunar surface on the Apollo missions 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17.
Celebrate Flag Day this year by showing your patriotism. Flags can be purchased both locally and online in a variety of sizes. For more information on displaying the American Flag visit the USA.gov.