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5 fun facts about Flag Day

Flag Day in the United States is a day honoring the national flag, observed on June 14. Here are a few facts you might not know.

Flag Day’s history is over 200 years old

The holiday commemorates the date – June 14, 1777 – when the United States approved the design for its first national flag.


Betsy Ross may not have created the flag as we know it

According to legend, in 1776, George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the new nation. Scholars, however, credit the flag’s design to Francis Hopkinson, who also designed the Great Seal and first coin of the United States. Even so, Ross most likely met Washington and certainly sewed early American flags in her family’s Philadelphia upholstery shop.

There are several stories about how the holiday came to be

The idea for a day to honor the national flag came from several sources. In 1885, Bernard J. Cigrand, a Wisconsin schoolteacher, asked his students to observe June 14 as “Flag Birthday” and later wrote an essay published in a Chicago newspaper that urged Americans to celebrate too. In 1888, William T. Kerr of Pennsylvania founded the American Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania. A lesser-known claim is George Morris of Connecticut, said to have organized the first formal celebration in Hartford in 1861.


While Flag Day is officially recognized, it’s not a federal holiday

In 1916 Pres. Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as the official date for Flag Day, and in 1949 the U.S. Congress permanently established the date as National Flag Day. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, and only one state – Pennsylvania – celebrates the day as a state holiday.

The birthday of the American flag is celebrated all week

Each year the president delivers an address that proclaims the week of June 14 as National Flag Week, and all Americans are encouraged to fly U.S. flags during that week.

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