The Red, White and Blue
Why we celebrate Flag Day, June 14
The History Files
It was first carried into battle at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, and first saluted by foreign naval vessels February 14, 1778 when John Paul Jones arrived in the French port.
Since then, it has sailed around the world, gone to the moon and Mars, flown on fields of battle and marked resting places.
Our Old Glory is the most recognized and respected flag in the world.
In June of 1775 the Continental Congress had gathered together to form a unifying continental army and needed a unifying symbol, because our fight for liberty began with each colony fighting under their own flag. That led to the creation of the first American flag, “The Continental Colors”. With it’s 13 red and white altering stripes and Union Jack, it was too similar to the British flag, and George Washington realized it was not good.
On June 14, 1777 a resolution was passed stating that the US flag would be one of 13 red and white stripes, with the union being a blue field with 13 white stars.
Although Betsey Ross has traditionally been credited with making our first flag, there is lack of evidence to support it.
Flag Day recognizes and celebrates the adoption of our flag by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.
There have been 27 versions of the flag, but the colors have remained, red, white, and blue. The colors selected by our founding fathers were chosen to not just be visually nice but meaningful.
- Red- hardiness, valor (not blood)
- White- purity, innocence
- Blue- vigilance, perseverance, & justice
It was a Wisconsin school teacher, Bernard Cigrand that originated the flag day celebrations at his school in 1885. He also was the first to petition Congress to call for national celebration of flag day.
President Wilson, in 1916 along with President Coolidge in 1927 issued proclamations asking for June 14 to be observed as National Flag Day. It was not until August 3, 1949 however, when Congress, under President Truman signed it into law.
Since that time, Congress has passed The Flag Protection Act of 1968 which states that it is illegal to burn or deface the flag. Additionally, there is a Flag Code which spells out rules for proper handling and displaying of the US flag. The overwhelming context presents that “the American flag shall be shown no disrespect and should not be dipped.” (Lowered)
America is one of 195 countries on the planet, each with their own flag, history and traditions. But this is the story of my flag, our American banner of freedom, honor, courage, pride, and patriotism.
Long may she wave, long may we see her proudly standing through the rockets red glare. Long may her beauty and freedom inspire generations toward patriotism, unity and service.
Long may our Red, White, and Blue stand “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Cheers to you.