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Flag Day Facts

Margaret Minnicks has been writing for HubPages for a long time. She is an expert about a variety of subjects she writes about.

Flag Day is June 14.

Flag Day is June 14.

Origin of American Flag Day

June 14 is celebrated every year in America as Flag Day. The Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution on June 14, 1777, which designated the flag as America's symbol. Since then, it has become the most iconic symbol of the United States.

Origin of the American Flag

Betsy Ross has been credited with sewing the first flag, but there has been some debate about whether she really did or not.

Even though the Philadelphia seamstress sewed a lot of flags, she might not have sewn the first American flag. It is quite possible that Ross did sew the first American flag, but there are no documents to prove it.

27 Flags Over the Years

A total of 27 different American flags has been designed over the years. The first flag in 1777 had 13 horizontal alternating red and white stripes representing the 13 original colonies that became the first 13 states. The blue patch in the upper left-hand corner had 13 white stars for the same reason as the 13 stripes.

When Kentucky and Vermont joined the union, two more stars were added. From 1795 to 1818, the flag had 15 stripes and 15 stars. It was this version of the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to compose "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Officials anticipated a flag full of stripes and stars when other states joined the union in the future. So after 1818, the flag returned to 13 stripes, but the stars did increase when states were added.

Today, the American flag still has 13 red and white horizontal stripes. The number of stars has changed to 50 to indicate all the states in the United States. The rows of stars start out with five white stars and end with five white stars. Alternate rows have six stars.

Colors of the US Flag

The nickname for the American flag is "Old Glory." The colors were not just picked out of a hat. They meant something then and they mean something now.

  • Red stands for hardiness and valor.
  • White symbolizes purity and innocence.
  • Blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

That's why the American's colors are red, white, and blue.

Flag as it was left on the moon.

Flag as it was left on the moon.

Flags on the Moon

American astronauts have left six flags on the moon. Some flags have been there over four decades that were put there by crews of the Apollo spacecraft between 1969 and 1972. This includes Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17.

Lunar scientists have photos that show that five out of the six flags still remain upright on the moon's surface, according to NASA. However, the very first flag left by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and the Apollo 11 crew in 1969 was blown over by the wind from the engine when the spacecraft lifted off.

Even though five of the flags are still on the moon, they might not have kept their original color. They are probably not red, white and blue because of years of exposure to heat, cold and light. More than likely, all the flags have been bleached white.

Flag Etiquette

There are rules to follow to respect the American flag at all times. according to the U. S. Flag Code. Here are a few of those rules.

Make sure that the stars are never shown pointing down. The only time that should happen is when the nation is in dire distress. The flag should never be allowed to touch the ground. People should never wear it as an attire, use it as a covering or for bedding, or as a covering for windows as drapery.

When the American flag is displayed with other flags, it should always be in the top position. It should be to the observer's left when flags are placed in a row.

On special days and in time of mourning, the flag should be flown at half-staff. On Memorial Day it is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised. Half-staff means the flag is lowered to one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff.

When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the stars should be in the top position on the left.

There are certain rules to follow when displaying the flag on houses, in windows, on cars, and on caskets. Make sure you follow those flag rules.

Flag at top of flagpole

Flag at top of flagpole

How the Flag is Raised

The flag is hoisted to the top of the flagpole during normal times. When there is a national tragedy, the President of the United States will request the flag to be lowered to half-staff.

The governor of a state may do the same during times of disaster in the state. Lowering the flag to half-staff indicates respect, distress, and mourning.

Flags are at halfstaff

Flags are at halfstaff

Viewing and Saluting the Flag

When Americans see the flag during a parade or ceremony, or when a flag is being raised or lowered, they should face the flag and salute it with their right hand over their heart.

Men should remove their hats with the right hand and hold it in the left hand.

All persons whose jobs require them to be in uniform should carry out the military salute. This includes members of the armed forces and veterans who are present whether they are in uniform or not. Others include police and fire fighters.

Soldier saluting the flag

Soldier saluting the flag

Flag Don'ts

When it comes to what not to do with the American flag, here are some quick rules to follow.

  • Don’t let the flag touch the ground.
  • Don’t fly the flag upside down unless there is an emergency.
  • Don’t use the flag as clothing, bed covering, or drapery.
  • Don’t fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.
  • Don’t write, draw, or put marks on the flag.
  • Don’t use the flag for decoration.
  • Don’t dip the U.S. Flag for any person, flag, or vessel. To dip a flag while carrying it means to lower it by turning it forward from an upright position to 45° or horizontal. This could be a sign of deference as well as respect. The United States is the only country that does not dip its flag. There has been a lot of controversy about this at the Olympics when all the countries march in during the opening ceremony with their flags. The other countries dip their flag when passing the host, but America does not.
American Flags

American Flags

How to Celebrate Flag Day

Celebrating Flag Day can be something as simple as displaying the American flag on your house or office building.

People also may attend ceremonies, services, or parades in their area. Teachers could take advantage of the holiday by teaching lessons about the flag and providing flag-related activities for students.

Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. How many flags have been left on the moon?
    • 2
    • 4
    • 6
    • 12
  2. How many flags are still on the moon?
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
  3. How many flags has America had since the beginning?
    • 1
    • 12
    • 27
    • 50
  4. How many stars were on the original flags?
    • 3
    • 10
    • 13
    • 15
  5. How many stripes were on the original flag?
    • 1
    • 3
    • 13
    • 15
  6. How many stripes are on today's American flag?
    • 13
    • 15
    • 27
    • 50
  7. How many stars are on today's American flag?
    • 13
    • 15
    • 27
    • 50

Answer Key

  1. 6
  2. 5
  3. 27
  4. 13
  5. 13
  6. 13
  7. 50

Comments

RTalloni on May 21, 2019:

Thanks for mentioning flag etiquette as you highlighted Flag Day in this post. Honoring the holiday gives us a chance to consider the sacrifices made by heroic people who worked together on behalf of America. It also gives us the opportunity to consider the importance of being united as Americans in our refusal to allow media voices and divisive groups to increase division in our nation, much less voices from other nations. Happy upcoming Flag Day!

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on June 16, 2018:

Robert, thank you for reading and commenting.

Robert Sacchi on June 16, 2018:

A great article for Flag Day. Thank you for posting.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on June 15, 2018:

Dred Cuan, Thanks for reading and commenting on my Flag Day article. I love compiling and sharing tidbits about things that I find interesting. I especially found it interesting that the American flag has been changed 27 times and 6 flags were left on the moon.

Travel Chef from Manila on June 15, 2018:

I think almost all of the countries around the world have common standards when it comes to their flag. Overall, everybody must respect the country's flag in a way, it must be used accordingly. Thanks for the information!

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