My Report On The U.S. Flag Complete With Commentary

American-Flag-222x300
{ image from Library of Congress}

Today is Flag Day.  On this date in 1777, the Continental Congress officially approved the design of the U.S. flag as we know it today.

•  But you knew that, of course.  You paid attention in history class and it’s right there on your calendar, in small print.

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In adopting the flag the Continental Congress stated: “Resolved, That the Flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”  It is interesting to note that the colors of red – white – blue did not have meanings when this resolution was adopted.

In 1818, after 5 more states joined the Union, the U.S. Congress passed legislation fixing the number of stripes at 13 and requiring that the number of stars equal the number of states.

•  Smart thinking if you ask me.  Have a plan, stick to it.

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In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14th as a national day of recognition for the flag.  According to this declaration, the flag is to be flown everywhere on this day, not just on government buildings and schools.

In 1949, while President Truman was in office, the U.S. Congress established June 14 as National Flag Day.  The next year on June 14th he proclaimed it as such.  However, this does not make June 14th an official federal holiday so no one gets the day off from work because of this Act of Congress.

•  I fail to see the reason why the U.S. Congress did what they did, but that’s nothing new.

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The U.S. flag has three nicknames“Stars and Stripes” – “Star-Spangled Banner” – “Old Glory.”  And as you can imagine, no matter what you call it, there are etiquette rules for flying the U.S. flag.  Reading through them you will discover that We, The People, break these rules almost daily.

•  I direct your attention to the Decorative section of the list.  ‘Nuff said.

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In 1960, on July 4th, the last new star was added to the flag when Hawaii became the 50th state.  That is the last time there has been a change to the U.S. flag itself.  But there is more to the story than mere design changes.  You see, on June 14, 2004, the U.S. Congress unanimously voted to declare that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, Waubeka Wisconsin, thereby acknowledging another little known historical fact.

And with that I have nothing more to add to this report.  ‘Tis time for me to go put my cute little red, white & blue flags in my large blue green flower pots filled with dark pink geraniums, so that I can say that I’m [stylishly] observing this holiday.

•  How about you?  What are you going to do to celebrate Flag Day?

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Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

33 thoughts on “My Report On The U.S. Flag Complete With Commentary”

  1. great article!

    I always thought if flags were made of flame resistant material we would have a solution to the groups that are interested in burning our flag as a demonstration.

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  2. Our flag is out, too
    THANK YOU for this post.
    Flag etiquette was once common knowledge as it used to be taught in eery grade in schools. Every morning in elementary school we all marched out around the flag pole and said the pledge as the flag was raised. Then sang a one of the songs about America. We all wanted to be a big kid who got to raise the flag (and so careful not to let it touch the ground). Everyday a new pair of kids got chosen for flag duty. An honor.
    Somethings should be kept as tradition – for unity. for knowledge. for the country’s sake.
    thanks again ( Wisconsin? cool!)

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    1. philosophermouse, I think that most Americans have no idea that there is proper flag etiquette. All that kind of behavior & respect has disappeared… and in its place we have bath mats with the U.S. flag on them! My mother, a history teacher who took the rules of flag etiquette seriously, is rolling in her grave. In some ways, this post is for her.

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  3. Celebrate with you, of course. Suprised that the federal workers union has not sought to make Flag Day more official so they can get an extra day off. Of course, not likely in this day and age, but perhaps if and when conditions get better back in DC. Liked the background information as well – I kow that is not easy to find and list so thanks very much for all of your research

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    1. Zen-Den, the flags look cute outside the front door. You bring up a good point– I, too, now wonder why this day hasn’t become more of a holiday courtesy of federal workers unions. And thanks about the links. I’m glad that you enjoyed the info.

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  4. With regard to breaking the rules…. we had a poor, badly tattered flag flying 24 hours per day with no lights for night and in the rain and snow and well, almost any rule that could be broken was. I got Dad a new flag and discovered there was no way of getting the new flag up after taking the old flag down. The rope only went one way and I’m not sure how he got the old flag up in the first place. And now I have this tattered flag stuck in my gardening box because it’s nylon and I’m not burning it but it feels wrong to throw it away. I know flag etiquette – it was an important part in girl scouts. But they don’t teach you what to do with tattered nylon flags.

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    1. Zazzy, they sure don’t. And what do you do with these small little flags that I like after they wear out? Hmmm? Toss them in the trash? The rules are a little vague on those points.

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  5. Please note: The flower pots are green not blue. You’d think that I’d know what is right outside my front door, but apparently I don’t. I’ve got a brain like a colander, people. Brain like a colander.

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    1. belle, we have Flag Day here, but it’s not really celebrated much anymore. I can see how it’d be difficult to get the support for Flag Day if everybody wasn’t on board the same train. Maybe someday?

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  6. We too, have little flags flying in the flower pots. I haven’t seen too many flags today in the neighborhood, though. It seems that people aren’t interested in patriotism as much today than when we were growing up. We were always taught to stand and place our hands over our hearts when the flag went by in a parade. Now, hardly anyone does. Makes me sad.

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    1. Beth, I’d forgotten all about the hand over your heart thing when the flag went by. Of course, I haven’t been to a parade in years!

      I think that patriotism has changed in our lifetime, for sure. When we were girls, patriotism was all about symbols and gestures. It’s quieter + more internalized now. No need for making a big deal about it. It’s just a given.

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  7. I’m going to wish my friend Sue a happy birthday. Ever since she was a kid, she thought people raised the flag just for her.

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    1. nance, that’s hilarious. I’m sure that she did think today was all about her. What a shock it must have been when she found out the truth of the matter.

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  8. I don’t have a flag, but I did buy a couple of small plastic ones for Memorial Day. My husband (who was a vet) never seemed that interested in flying the flag, although he did lecture me about flag etiquette when he saw other people abusing it. Maybe he knew it would be a lot of work!

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    1. Margaret, that’s a good point. Maybe people aren’t interested in flying the flag because they know that they’d do it wrong. Never thought of that. And here I was having a good grumble at the expense of other people’s stupidity & you come along and say something sensible. 😉

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      1. Well, as I recall him saying, there are definite dos and don’ts! I think I only half listened. As the students would say, MY BAD. 😉 If we had had a flag, it would have been his responsibility!

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  9. Over here, flag flying isn’t viewed the same way. A shame, in my view. When we go to Greece, their flags are everywhere, even in miniature in our cocktails (or they used to be before Greece fell on such hard times). There are too many connotations attached to flying the Union Jack and it seems that one is almost not allowed to proclaim oneself English (we’re all British or European, although I’d like to see anyone tell a Scotsman he’s not Scottish!). But enough of our politics. We were talking about flags this morning because our white cat came in covered in yellow mess from a slug and some red on her feet (not blood) and we were talking about how inconvenient it is to have a white cat and maybe we should dye her (only joking of course). We decided against the English flag, white with red cross, as it’s still basically white, so we’ve gone with Greece, blue and white, but mainly blue, so solving the problem.

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    1. Polly, the more I reflect on flags the more I realize that how the people of a country use their flag must be part of the myths/narratives that those people tell themselves about being from that country. If the Union Jack has negative connotations, for whatever reason, then the people won’t fly it. And vice versa– talking to you Greece.

      Here in the U.S. people fly flags whenever and wherever they want to, which I’m cool with. But it’s when the flag motif shows up on household goods and vehicles that I am reminded of the etiquette rules. Oddly enough I have no problem with the flag motif on clothing, accessories, jewelry, tats. Go figure.

      And as for your poor cat, I want to see a photo of it once you’ve Greek-a-fied it! Knowing cats, I’m going out on a limb here and say it ain’t going to happen. No cat would ever let you do that to him or her. But go ahead and try. I dare you! 😉

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      1. Absolutely no way! It was only ever a joke, something to amuse the little man and to help us get over the state that the white cat was in. Could try a photo-shop though, that would do no harm. Hmm.

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      1. Yeah, no one in my neighborhood has any flags flying either. Well, except for the retired old guys who once served in the military and have flag poles standing in the center of their front yards and never take their flags down. Looks like they could use some lessons in flag etiquette.

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