Tuesday, June 15, 2010

National Flag Week

Yesterday, June 14 was Flag Day, commemorating the adoption of the flag of the United States of America by the Second Continental Congress in 1777. It's part of National Flag Week.

We Americans have been celebrating Flag day since the late 1800s.

Here are some fun flag facts with a few famous, and not so famous, folks:
(Sorry, I couldn't resist the alliteration.)

President Woodrow Wilson first officially proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day in 1916. Then, in August 1949, an Act of Congress established National Flag Day.

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Legend has it that Betsy Ross was a seamstress who often made clothes for George Washington, and that in 1776, he asked her to sew the country's first flag. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Not quite...

USflag.org states that Francis Hopkinson should get the credit for the design of our first flag. A patriot, lawyer and congressman from New Jersey, he was appointed to the Continental Navy Board in 1776 and four years later put forth in writing that he had actually designed the first U.S. flag. Claims by relatives of Betsy Ross, an upholsterer who occasionally did sew flags, that she created the U. S. flag did not appear until one hundred years later.

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After witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics to our national anthem. He was said to have been inspired by the sight of our American flag illuminated by the "red glare" of British incendiaries.

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Want to know more? Check these out at the library:

The Care and Display of the American Flag

Woodrow Wilson : A
Biography by John Milton Cooper

Betsy Ross and the Making of America by Marla R. Miller

A Grand Old Flag: A History of the United States Through Its Flags by Kevin P. Keim

The Star-Spangled Banner; America the Beautiful CD by Whitney Houston

Flags of our Fathers DVD

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In 1914, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane delivered a Flag Day address in which he quoted the flag as if it had spoken to him directly. He said,
"I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."

1 comment:

Joel said...

Great historical post! I'm glad you included Francis Hopkinson as he certainly was an interesting, yet lesser-known, patriot. Besides his many legal achievements he was also a playwright, composer, author, and inventor. He's buried in Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia, a small stone's throw away from Ben Franklin (and, ironically, a block away from the Betsey Ross House).

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