The Continental Congress Approved The Design Of A National Flag
Since 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14, Americans have commemorated the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by celebrating June 14 as Flag Day.
Prior to 1916, many localities and a few states had been celebrating the day for years. Congressional legislation designating that date as the national Flag Day was signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1949; the legislation also called upon the president to issue a flag day proclamation every year.
According to legend, in 1776, George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the new nation. Scholars debate this legend, but agree that Mrs. Ross most likely knew Washington and sewed flags. To date, there have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag, but the arrangement of the stars varied according to the flag-makers' preferences until 1912 when President Taft standardized the then-new flag's forty-eight stars into six rows of eight. The forty-nine-star flag (1959-60), as well as the fifty-star flag, also have standardized star patterns. The current version of the flag dates to July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became the fiftieth state on August 21, 1959.
In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.
Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, though on June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first (and only) U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday. Title 36 of the United States Code, Subtitle I, Part A, CHAPTER 1, § 110 is the official statute on Flag Day; however, it is at the President's discretion to proclaim officially the observance.
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. ”— Journals Of The Continental Congress
Today is National Flag Day. Never heard of it? Yeah, me neither.
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress in Philadelphia adopted the Stars and Stripes as the national flag. According to the National Flag Day Foundation, Flag Day was born on June 14, 1885, after Bernard Cigrand, a 19-year-old teacher in Waubeka, Wisc., placed a flag on his desk and assigned essays on its significance. It took two presidents and an act of Congress, but years later Flag Day became official.
In the “crowning achievement” of Cigrand’s life, on May 30 1916, President Woodrow Wilson called for a day of observance for the flag. Then, in August 1949, President Truman signed off on the declaration from Congress, which officially marked June 14 as National Flag Day. While Cigrand died in 1932, he received his glory posthumously in 2004 when Congress voted unanimously to recognize Flag Day’s origins in Ozaukee County, Wisc.. Though the day is not a federal holiday, many cities hold Flag Day parades in honor of Old Glory.
Interesting side-note: According to The Boston Globe, before the colonists chose the official flag, they fought under whatever banner was on hand, “regimental flags, homemade insignia, green, blue, what-have-you.”