One of America's lesser celebrated holidays, but still important for patriotism, is Flag Day.
It was on this day in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress adopted the flag. June 14, although not a federal holiday, was proclaimed as 'Flag Day' in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. A mere 33 years later, the day was established by congress as a national holiday.
Many American cities and towns celebrate with parades, Quincy, Massachusetts, Troy, New York and Three Oaks, Michigan are all competing for the oldest and the largest parade, though none can verify this fact.
First use in Battle
On August 3, 1777, the Stars and Stripes were first flown during a battle. The battle would become known as the siege of Fort Stanwix, although the fort was known Schuyler then. The combatants were the British and the Iraquois against the Americans.
The Americans were led by Colonel Peter Gansevoort, who was aided by Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer and Major General Benedict Arnold.
The flag that was flown during the battle was made up of white shirts from the soldiers, red flannel ladies petticoats from the officers' wives and the blue from a coat owned by Captain Abraham Swartwout. The captain was reimbursed for his coat.
About the Original Stars and Stripes Design
The actual origin of the Stars and Stripes banner is unclear, but research indicates that Francis Hopkinson, a naval flag designer who also signed the Declaration of Independence, is the designer.
Hopkinson designed the 1777 flag while he was chairman of the Continental Navy Board's Middle Department. Hopkinson also designed the Naval flag.
Concerning the stripes, Hopkinson had red stripes at the top and bottom for visibility at sea, as the white would blend in with the glare on the waves.
About the Current Design
The American flag has had several revisions since the original, which featured thirteen stars in a circle with thirteen red and white alternating stripes.
The stars on the blue backdrop represent the 50 states of the United States of America, while the 13 red and white stripes represent the original 13 colonies: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia.
The current design has been in use since 1960, when the 50th star was added for Hawaii and features colors named 'Old Glory Red' and 'Old Glory Blue'. This is also the design with the longest use, currently spanning 59 years. Prior to the 50 star design, the 48 star design was used from 1912-1959, or 47 years.
About Future Designs
When Puerto Rico voted to become a state in 2012, a design was drawn up to include 51 stars. This would be in accordance with the 1818 plan of Naval Captain Samuel Reid, who proposed that a new star be added for each state and that the stripes should remain 13 in number.
Despite the result of the polls indicating that the country should become a state, the election was declared illegitimate. Another vote was taken in 2017, but was declared null as only 23 percent of voters turned out.
In 2016, the District of Columbia voted to become a state, but does not have congressional support to do so.
The design is prepared and ready for whatever is to come.