American Flag Day

Happy Birthday American Flag: Origins, Facts, and More about Flag Day

  • George Demopoulos

Happy Birthday to the American Flag! Today, June 14, 2022, marks Flag Day, the day we officially adopted the Stars and Stripes. It’s been almost 250 years since that date, and while our flag has changed a few times since then, it’s still the same Old Glory. In this post, we’ll look at the origins of Flag Day, along with some facts and images.

Flag Day Images and Facts

In 1777, we were in the thick of the Revolutionary War. The Patriots had managed to take the initiative after George Washington historically crossed the Delaware River in December 1776 and soundly defeated British forces at the Battle of Trenton.

At the time, the Americans hadn’t adopted the 13-star flag that we know today. Instead, they flew a banner with 13 stripes (one for each colony) along with a Union Jack in the top left corner.

 american flag day

George Washington realized that having their enemies’ flag on their own wasn’t great for the Continental Army’s morale. Plus – who needs that many stripes?

That’s when the search for a new flag began.

The story of Betsy Ross sewing the first American Flag at Washington’s request is baked into our national mythology. But that story may not actually be true. No official documentation supports this story that we’ve found.

Instead, New Jersey Continental Congress delegate Francis Hopkinson may have been one of the brains behind the flag. He unsuccessfully asked the Board of Admiralty for compensation for designing the flag. However, the Board denied him, saying that he wasn’t the only one behind the flag.

No compensation and virtually no recognition from future generations for his work? Sounds like the guy had a rough go of it. 

Still. What a pretty flag. 

Old Glory

Official Recognition of Flag Day

While the Second Continental Congress officially recognized the first American Flag on June 14, 1777, that wasn’t actually the first “Flag Day.” Instead, it would take more than 100 years for our country to recognize the holiday.

The first person to have the idea to celebrate national Flag Day was a Wisconsin schoolteacher named Bernard Sigrand. He had the idea in 1885. He and his students observed the first Flag Day that year.

President Woodrow Wilson first issued a proclamation marking June 14 as Flag Day in 1916. But it wasn’t until an Act of Congress in 1949 that Flag Day became an official holiday. We’ve been celebrating it ever since!

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