A Banner Over U.S.

Today is Flag Day. You may hear something about it, or you may not. It’s probably not something people under 30 have heard very much about in school, but nevertheless, this is the day we celebrate the birthday of our beloved Stars and Stripes.

The Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act on June 14, 1777 in order to establish a new flag for the young nation.  The act stated, “Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

According to the USA Flag Site, Congress passed several acts between 1777 and 1960 that changed the shape, design and arrangement of the flag, and allowed for more stars to be added as new states were added.  This website also gives the etiquette for the proper (and improper) display and uses of Old Glory, and some of them would be surprising to the average American.

Take this one, for example: 

  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.

As I sit here wearing one of my many Old Navy annual flag shirts, I have to say that one stood out to me.  Lots of people just throw away old t-shirts when they get past their prime, but I think I’ll find some other way to retire the articles of clothing that I have with the flag’s image on it.

It’s really just about respect, not for a piece of material that becomes worn and tattered with time, but it’s about what the image stands for.  It still stands for freedom, and it represents an awful lot of people who gave their lives for that principle over the course of more than two centuries.  It’s flown over every battlefield where Americans have set foot, from Monmouth to Afghanistan.  It’s emblazoned on the side of every American battleship and fighter jet…and it waves on the lonely surface of the moon.

So, take the time today to fly your flag (if weather permits!)…and remember.


Betsy Ross presents the first flag to George Washington, George Ross and Robert Morris


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