The inaugural commemoration of the U.S. Flag’s anniversary occurred in 1877, marking the centennial of the Flag Resolution of 1777. However, historical accounts suggest that the initial yearly recognition of the flag’s birthday took place in 1885 when educator BJ Cigrand orchestrated an event with Wisconsin students to honor June 14, the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes. Cigrand, widely recognized as the Father of Flag Day, persistently advocated for the observance of June 14 as the flag’s birthday or “Flag Day.”
Shortly thereafter, the endeavors of another teacher named George Balch resulted in the formal celebration of Flag Day on June 14 by the New York State Board of Education. Within a few years, up to 36 state and local governments adopted this annual commemoration. For more than three decades, Flag Day remained a localized celebration.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation, making the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 an observed occasion nationwide. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until August 3, 1949, that June 14 received the official designation of National Flag Day through an Act of Congress.
In the present day, Flag Day is commemorated through various activities such as parades, essay contests, ceremonies, and picnics. These events are often organized by veterans groups, educational institutions, and organizations like the National Flag Day Foundation, which aims to uphold the traditions, history, pride, and reverence associated with the nation’s emblem, Old Glory.
The Stars and Stripes originated from a resolution passed by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia on June 14, 1777. According to the resolution, the flag of the United States would consist of thirteen stripes, alternating between red and white, symbolizing the thirteen colonies. The union, representing a new constellation, would feature thirteen white stars on a blue field.
The resolution did not provide specific instructions regarding the arrangement or number of points for the stars, leaving it open to interpretation. As a result, different versions of the flag emerged. Some flags had stars scattered across the blue field without a particular pattern, while others arranged the stars in rows or circles. The initial Navy Stars and Stripes showcased stars arranged in a staggered formation, alternating between rows of three and rows of two, all on a blue background. Additional variations featured stars arranged in alternating rows of four, five, and four. Furthermore, the stars themselves varied in the number of points, with some having six points and others featuring eight.
Video: How To Properly Display the American Flag
The information you provided states that there is strong evidence suggesting that Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Jersey, played a role in designing the stars for the U.S. flag. At the time the flag resolution was adopted, Hopkinson served as the chairman of the Continental Navy Board’s Middle Department and was involved in designing various emblems for the government, including the Great Seal of the United States. In recognition of his contributions, Hopkinson submitted a letter to the Continental Admiralty Board, requesting a reward of a Quarter Cask of the public Wine for his creative work and as an encouragement for future endeavors of similar nature. However, his request was denied by the Congress, considering him a public servant.