In order to establish an official flag for the United States, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act on June 14, 1777. More than a century later, numerous presidents issued proclamations asking for June 14 to be observed as national Flag Day. By August 3, 1949, Congress approved the national observance, and President Harry Truman signed it into law. Today, many Americans celebrate by donning red, white and blue in front of their homes. As you join in the celebration of stars and stripes, bring a few of these Flag Day facts to the water cooler.
Flag Day is a legal holiday in only one state
Flag Day is not a federal holiday. It is a nationwide observance. It has been recognized as a legal holiday in Pennsylvania since 1937.
The “Father of Flag Day” was a schoolboy
Age ain’t nothing but a number, as William T. Kerr proved. While still a schoolboy in Pittsburgh (1888), Kerr founded the American Flag Day Association in efforts to establish a holiday to honor the flag. Kerr went on to become an educator and textbook author and served as the association’s president for 50 years.
It’s not just the flag’s birthday
The American flag has a birthday twin, and it’s just as patriotic. Just two years earlier on June 14, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the enlistment of expert riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year, thereby founding the U.S. Army.
The flag goes by the name “Old Glory”
Capt. William Driver, a young sea captain who lived in Massachusetts, first applied the nickname to the flag. His flag is said to have survived multiple defacing attempts during the Civil War.
Symbolism extends beyond stars and stripes
Beyond the 50 stars for the states and 13 stripes for the original colonies, the colors of the flag are symbolic as well. Red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white stands for purity and innocence and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.