Published on May 31st, 2023
How many patriotic holidays can you name?
Every year, Americans celebrate a handful of these holidays. From Presidents’ Day and Memorial Day to Independence Day and Veterans’ Day, each of these holidays is designed to help people take more pride in their country.
But one patriotic holiday sometimes gets lost in the shuffle: Flag Day. If you asked the average American when Flag Day is, they might not know.
So, when is Flag Day? For those who don’t know, it falls on June 14 each year.
And what is Flag Day? Well, as you might imagine, it’s a day created to help celebrate the American Flag and all that it stands for to those who live in the United States of America.
There are also all sorts of other fun facts you should know about Flag Day and the American Flag in general. We’ve put together a list of seven of them for you below.
1. The First Flag Day Was Held Over a Century Ago
The very first American flag was created way back in 1776 (more on this shortly!). The Second Continental Congress also passed what was known as the Flag Resolution in 1777 that made the first American flag the official flag of the nation.
But it wasn’t until about 107 years ago that Flag Day came around. President Woodrow Wilson made the call to make June 14, 1916 the first Flag Day.
At that time, though, there weren’t any plans for June 14 to remain Flag Day every year. So Flag Day wouldn’t come back around until 1927 when President Calvin Coolidge once again designated June 14 as Flag Day.
After that, it would have made perfect sense for June 14 to become Flag Day in an official capacity. But even then, Flag Day didn’t turn into a national holiday. It would take another two decades for this to be the case.
2. Flag Day Didn’t Become a National Holiday Until 1949
In 1949, more than 30 years after the first Flag Day, the U.S. finally decided to make Flag Day a national holiday. It was certainly a long time coming for the American flag.
President Harry Truman decided that the American flag deserved its own holiday at that time. Congress passed a bill declaring that June 14 would be Flag Day from then on, and President Truman signed the bill to make it a law.
It’s kind of crazy that it took that long for Flag Day to join the ranks of other national holidays. But the fact that it eventually took this step made the American flag an even more important symbol both inside and outside of the country.
3. Flag Day Isn’t a Federal Holiday
Even though Flag Day has been a national holiday for almost 75 years now, there is a pretty good reason why Americans don’t always know when it is. This reason would also help explain why so many Americans still ask, “What is Flag Day?”
It’s because Flag Day is a national holiday, but it isn’t a federal holiday. Because of this, people don’t get off from school and work for Flag Day. So it simply isn’t always on their radar each year.
4. The Current American Flag Was Designed After Flag Day’s Creation
As we touched on earlier, the very first American flag came into existence back in 1776. But since then, it’s been updated on numerous occasions.
And believe it or not, the current American flag wasn’t designed after Flag Day was named a national holiday. It was designed in 1958, and it came from a very unlikely source.
The designer of the current American flag was a high school student named Bob Heft from Ohio. He was only 17 when he created an American flag with 50 stars on it as part of a project for a high school history class.
Heft reportedly took a U.S. flag that had 48 stars on it and used his mother’s sewing machine to put two more stars on the flag since Alaska and Hawaii were both on the verge of becoming U.S. states soon. He then took this flag and sent it to Ohio Congressman Walter Moeller who presented it to President Dwight Eisenhower.
Amazingly, President Eisenhower decided to take Heft’s flag and use it as the nation’s official flag. He also invited Heft and his family members to Washington, D.C. for the new American flag’s unveiling in 1960.
There is also one other interesting tidbit about this story, and it involves the grade Heft received for his version of the American flag. His history teacher apparently gave him just a B- before later amending the grade to an A after seeing the huge impact his flag project would go on to have.
5. It’s Unclear Who Created the First American Flag
If we were to ask you who created the first American flag, there is a decent chance that you would respond by saying, “Betsy Ross.” That’s who is so often credited with creating the American flag.
But there has been some controversy surrounding Ross’s involvement with the flag over the years. More specifically, people have called the story about her designing the first American flag into question because she wasn’t credited with doing it until almost a century later when her family came forward to try to have her recognized for designing the flag.
Her grandson William Canby shared a story about how Ross had been asked by George Washington, Robert Morris, and Ross’ relative Colonel George Ross to create the American flag. Several of Ross’ other relatives, including her daughter and granddaughter, backed up this story with their own affidavits.
But some historians have argued that Ross only sewed the first American flag and didn’t actually create it. They’ve said that Francis Hopkinson, a delegate from New Jersey, was the one who created the first American flag and even went as far as to ask for payment for it.
But since Hopkinson wasn’t ever asked to create the American flag, these historians say he wasn’t credited with doing it or paid for the efforts he may have put forward.
6. Flag Day Is Also the U.S. Army’s Birthday
There might be yet another reason why many Americans still wonder, “What is Flag Day?” It may be because Flag Day shares a day with the U.S. Army’s birthday.
Back in 1775, the Second Continental Congress officially recognized the Continental Army, which would later go on to become the U.S. Army, following the Battles of Concord and Lexington. This took place on June 14.
As a result, Flag Day has to share a day with the U.S. Army. And since the U.S. Army’s birthday came first long before the creation of Flag Day, it sometimes overshadows Flag Day.
7. The Largest Flag Day Parade Has Been Around for 70 Years
There are so many different ways in which you can celebrate Flag Day these days. For example, you can shop for a new American flag at the Ultimate Flag Store and wave it proudly outside your home.
You can also spend some time learning about the history of the American flag to gain a new appreciation for it. You might see it in a whole new light once you find out how it has evolved over the last 250 years.
But one of the best ways to celebrate Flag Day might just be by attending a Flag Day parade. You should be able to find at least one or two of these parades taking place in your general area.
If you’re ever able to do it, you may want to go as far as to visit Three Oaks, Michigan so that you can attend the Three Oaks Flag Day Parade. This parade has been around since 1953 and is considered to be the largest Flag Day parade in the country.
Whatever you do, don’t let another Flag Day pass you by without you recognizing it in some way. The American flag is far too important for you to overlook the significance of Flag Day each year.
Stop Wondering, “What Is Flag Day?”, and Start Celebrating It
Now that you know the answer to the question, “What is Flag Day?”, you should start celebrating it year in and year out. You’re free to celebrate it in any way you want in large part because of the freedom that the American flag guarantees.
You might not get a day off from work or school for Flag Day. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take at least a few minutes each Flag Day to show your respect for the American flag and what it stands for.
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