June 14, 1777 the Second Continental Congress passed a new resolution that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white and the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
SOME INTERESTING NOTES ABOUT FLAG DAY
When the colonists united and rebelled for their freedom in the American Revolutionary War in 1775 they were not fighting under a single, united flag. As these things go, each group had their own homemade flag. They represented on their flags whatever symbols or designs they imagined signified the freedoms they were fighting for. In a small way this sentiment still carries through in our military to a degree. Each unit in a fighting force has it’s own icon or symbol and often it’s own patches and tattoos; whether sanctioned or not.
Soon, the Second Continental Congress realized they must unify the forces so they met in Philadelphia and created the Continental Army. It was America’s very first official fighting force. The Continental Army was designed and created in order to allow regimented and planned and organized war actions against the British Empire’s troops. Along with this fighting force came the hope of a unifying flag; basically it was to be the American flag flying the new Continental Army colors.
However, as smart as the founding fathers were, they did make mistakes. In fact this first flag was not well received. It was made up of the now familiar 13 horizontal bars of Red and White and instead of the white stars on a blue filed we are so familiar with, it had the Union Jack – which is the United Kingdoms flag!
The first Continental Army flew this flag. It was essentially a merge of the United Kingdom’s flag and the thirteen red and white stripes representing the colonies.
It was not so popular with the troops.
Being in good communications with his troops, General George Washington soon learned about the army’s mixed feelings toward the flag. Truthfully, he saw that “it is a flag too closely resembling the oppressors we are fighting”. So he began working on a new symbol of freedom for the army to fight under and for. Very soon, in response to his request the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white and that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
The famous Betsy Ross flag of 1776. It is now widely proclaimed there is no evidence she sewed the flag, despite the fact that she was well known for sewing flags and was credited to it and there is no documentation to prove she did not sew it.
Since then the American Flag has been a symbol of strength, unity, hope, courage and military strength for the United States. It has been added to or changed more than two dozen times since then. A complete time line can be seen here: Flag Timeline
We celebrate Flag Day on the 14th of June every year because on May 30, 1916, then President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed June 14 Flag Day.
The US Flag Code can be read HERE
For quick reference, here is the subsection of the Flag Code pertaining to Respect for the Flag.
There is so much more to know about the flag that represents our nation. I encourage you to dig into it yourself. it’s really interesting.
Happy Flag Day!