Celebrating the American Flag

Flag Day History

  • Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the American Flag by resolution by the Second Continental Congress in 1977.
  • The American Flag, as we know it today, consists of 13 horizontal red and white stripes, each representing the 13 original colonies of the United States, and a blue rectangle in the canton with 50 white, five-pointed stars representing the 50 states of the union.
  • The 1777 resolution did not set the size or proportions of the flag, or even what shape the constellation of stars should be. As a result, flags of the era showed the constellation of stars in different arrangements, and flags were made with differing proportions. It was not until 1912 that the flag’s design was standardized.
  • A new star is added with the inclusion of every new state to the union. The number of stars increased to 15 in 1795, 20 by 1818 and the trend continued. The 50th star was added with the inclusion of the state of Hawaii to the Union in 1959.
  • Until 1818, a new stripe was also added for each new state. The famous Star-Spangled Banner that inspired our national anthem had 15 stars and 15 stripes.
  • The flag got its nickname, “Old Glory,” by the 19th-century American sea captain William Driver, who flew the flag during his career at sea and later brought it to Nashville, Tennessee, where he settled. He later hid “Old Glory” from the Confederate troops by sewing it inside a comforter. Unfurling it once again after the Union soldiers entered Nashville on February 25, 1862.
  • Flag Day was founded by a school teacher named Bernard J. Cigrand in 1885, who began observing the day with his class at Stony Hill School in Waubeka, Wisconsin.
  • In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing June 14th as Flag Day.