Flag Day history

It’s Flag Day, the official commemoration of the Second Continental Congress’s 1777 resolution to adopt a U.S. flag: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” That resulted in the replacement of the “Grand Union Flag” with the “Hopkinson Flag.” Some of Flag Day’s history:

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1946, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday. … On June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday, beginning in the town of Rennerdale.

To Victor Morris of Hartford, Conn., is popularly given the credit of suggesting “Flag Day,” the occasion being in honor of the adoption of the American flag on June 14, 1777. The city of Hartford observed the day in 1861, carrying out a program of a patriotic order, praying for the success of the Federal arms and the preservation of the Union.

There were so many great flags and emblems during the Revolutionary Era. A few of my favorite: the Moultrie “Liberty” flag, the “Pine Tree” flag, the “Betsy Ross” flag, the “Join or Die” emblem sometimes used as a flag, the “Gadsden” flag, the “Bennington” flag, and for its simplicity Washington’s headquarters flag—whose distinctive stars adorn the Museum of the American Revolution in Old City, Philadelphia.

I think this 1885 high school textbook illustration is remarkable for showing how states memorialized and passed along national history in the light of their own history in developing national identity and unity:


Illustration from an old High School textbook, titled “History of the US”. Shows the “Appeal to Heaven” pine tree flag and Gadsden flag at the top, the “Grand Union” flag and a 45-star version of the United States flag (used 1896-1908) in the center, and two versions of the New England flag … at the bottom.

And here’s a photo for Flag Day from a few weeks ago during a layover in Chicago:


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