The American flag – arguably the most familiar symbol of the United States – is also one of the least understood. Although most Americans know what the red and white stripes and blue stars represent, many have no idea about the American flag’s history (and we have the evidence to prove it – just look at some of the answers we got in the video below.
But what is the story behind our flag? A long-told event states George Washington commissioned Betsy Ross to create the flag for our new nation in June 1776, although there’s not much evidence to support the claim. Still, no one else has stepped up to claim the creation as their own.
The first American flag featured 13 stripes and stars, which represented the original colonies. When Vermont and Kentucky joined, two more stripes were added, but the government soon saw a problem with adding stripes every time a new state joined. They did not want an increasing amount of tiny stripes, and decided to stick to only 13.
In total, there have been 27 official versions of the flag. Four stars were added in 1890 when North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho joined. The current flag dates back to July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state.
Some Americans started celebrating their flag in the late 1880’s, thanks to a passionate grade school teacher. Credited as the “Father of Flag Day”, Bernard J. Cigrand organized the first recognized formal flag observance in 1885 at a Wisconsin high school. He also traveled the country speaking about patriotism and respect for the flag and eventually led the American Flag Day Association and the National Flag Day Society.
The oldest continuing Flag Day event is a parade that began in 1909 Washington, and has continued nearly every year since. President Woodrow Wilson first established the holiday in 1916, but it wasn’t until 1949 that President Harry Truman designated June 14th as National Flag Day.
Still looking for a way for you to celebrate Flag Day? Head to the allcal app to find fun public events or create your own event to share with friends and family this weekend. Organize your schedule and improve your life!